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Letter from Cardinal Collins re Latest Provincial Restrictions

Posted : Dec-22-2020

December 21, 2020

To all clergy and staff of the Archdiocese of Toronto,

This afternoon, Premier Ford announced that those areas of the province not currently in lockdown will be moving to this designation as of 12:01 a.m. the morning of December 26, 2020. 

Sadly, this means that all regions of the Archdiocese of Toronto will be limited to no more than 10 people inside our churches at any given time. As of December 26, 2020, parishes in Simcoe, Durham and Orangeville must now join the other regions of the archdiocese with the restrictions previously outlined and enclosed in this communication. 

Thankfully, for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, parishes in Simcoe, Durham and Orangeville may welcome the faithful at 30% capacity for Masses, following the strict protocols of WorshipSafe. All other regions of the archdiocese are in lockdown areas and must follow the guidelines as directed on December 17, 2020.

The faithful are asked to make every effort to follow the direction of the Province of Ontario to not travel outside of their own region to places where public Christmas Masses may be available. 

Once again, I express my sincere gratitude to all those who have been working so diligently throughout this pandemic to offer inspiring pastoral care and outreach in their community.

As we prepare for the birth of Jesus, we pray for all those who are sick, those who have died and the many front-line workers offering loving care to those most in need. Please also be assured of my ongoing prayers for you and your parishioners. 

Sincerely in Christ

Thomas Cardinal Collins 
Archbishop of Toronto

Lockdown Regions as designated by the Province of Ontario - Toronto, Peel and York, Durham (new), Simcoe (New) & Orangeville (New)

Note – all measures outlined will continue in Toronto, Peel and York and must be implemented in Durham, Simcoe & Orangeville by Saturday, December 26, 2020.

  • Parishes must restrict attendance inside the church to 10 people, including priests hearing confessions or a staff member/volunteer required to monitor capacity restrictions. Due to these measures, public Masses must be temporarily cancelled. Priests are asked to celebrate private Mass daily for the intentions of parishioners and for those suffering from Covid-19. 
  • Churches, wherever possible and according to the judgement of the pastor, are encouraged to remain open for private prayer and for the faithful to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Weddings, funerals and baptisms (all of these sacraments without Mass) are restricted to 10 persons, including those who are involved in ministry (priest, cantor, etc.). First Holy Communions and Confirmations should be postponed at this time.

  • Parishioners are encouraged to view online/livestream/televised Masses. A full list is available at and I will continue to celebrate the livestreamed Mass each day from St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica at 7:30 a.m.

  • No meetings should take place in parish halls or other church spaces at this time. The only exception would be those deemed as essential services eg. Alcoholics Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous Meetings. These meetings should be restricted to 10 people and ensure that all appropriate health and safety measures are in place (use of masks, hand sanitizer, physical distancing, etc.). Virtual meetings should replace in-person meetings wherever possible.

  • Parish offices should move to Phase 1 – Parish Offices Closed/Significant Operating Restrictions. Only essential staff in the office. Employees should work remotely wherever possible. Parish offices closed to the public - limited essential appointments only. Staff should take direction from the pastor regarding the local situation on the most prudent approach. In larger parishes, it may be possible to rotate staff.