April 1, 2021
My dear friends,
I pray that you and your loved ones are healthy and managing through these challenging days. For many, it feels as though our Lenten journey has been a year long period of sacrifice and penance.
At this time last year, we were in the early days of the pandemic and experienced a very different kind of Holy Week. Once again this year, we will not be able to gather in large numbers for the Triduum as significant restrictions announced today will continue in all areas of the Archdiocese of Toronto.
In the midst of this spiritual distress, we must not lose sight that through the storm we are experiencing, Jesus remains the way, the truth and the life. I know that so many of you have found opportunities to be the face and hands of Christ through this pandemic; caring for the isolated and marginalized, serving as ambassadors of compassion and love while having the opportunity to reflect on what is truly important in our lives.
While we are all feeling drained by the restrictions in place, we know that these are temporary measures with a beginning and an end. Sadly, the number of positive COVID-19 cases in our province are on the rise once again with more than 7,000 lives lost and many sick in hospital. We pray that health and safety measures, along with vaccinating the public as soon as possible will allow us to gather together without restrictions to celebrate the Eucharist, the source and summit of our faith.
I fully recognize that this Holy Week, it is frustrating for many Catholics in our archdiocese who were unable to reserve a space for services. Thank you for your patience and understanding. The dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass remains in place at this time. We are grateful to our clergy and parish staff with many parishes adding additional services to accommodate as many as possible. I also extend my gratitude to the thousands of volunteers who have worked so faithfully to ensure that our churches remain a safe place to gather in prayer.
While it is not a substitute for in-person participation in the sacraments, for those unable to join us at church, I encourage you to view the televised services offered through the National Catholic Broadcasting Council, Salt & Light Catholic Media or EWTN as well as the many livestream services made available through our parishes. You can also view Triduum services at St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica or journey with a virtual Stations of the Cross produced by St. Michael’s Choir School. Be assured that all priests of the archdiocese, myself included, will be keeping your intentions close in prayer this week.
May the Easter hope that accompanies the risen Christ serve as a reminder of the joy that we will experience collectively when these days of pandemic are no more. May God continue to bless you in a special way this Holy Week.
Sincerely in Christ,
Thomas Cardinal Collins
Archbishop of Toronto