June 10, 2020
Dear Clergy, Religious and Lay Faithful of the Archdiocese of Toronto,
In light of the government announcement of June 8, 2020 regarding the re-opening of places of worship, I would like to provide additional direction to all parishes on our re-opening timeline after consulting with the Council of Priests and Episcopal Board.
While the government has indicated that places of worship may open as of 12:01 a.m. on June 12, we recognize the extensive protocols that must be in place to safely re-open our churches. These include the training of clergy, staff and volunteers as well as ensuring appropriate cleaning supplies, signage and capacity control mechanisms can be prepared. Mindful that we are still in a period of pandemic, our goal is to ensure we can welcome the faithful and provide a safe environment for all.
Recognizing these challenges and balancing them with the understandable desire of the faithful to return to their spiritual home, I would ask all parishes to adopt the following timeline: opening churches for private prayer/adoration, moving to daily Mass for the public and finally returning to Sunday Masses throughout the archdiocese.
Please note that as per government direction regrading capacity, churches are limited to 30 per cent of their worship space. Funerals and weddings are restricted to 10 people including the presider at this time.
Before opening the church, the pastor must be satisfied that the Archdiocese of Toronto “Return to Church” guidelines can be followed. If there are concerns regarding the ability to follow these guidelines in his parish, he should consult with the regional bishop.
I continue to provide dispensation from the Sunday Mass for those who may not be able to attend for health reasons or due to capacity restrictions. St. Michael’s Cathedral will continue to livestream Masses – parishes may choose to do so for a period of time during this transition period or publicize the cathedral livestream, DailyTVMass.com as well as Masses offered through Salt & Light Catholic Television, EWTN and others.
I recognize there will be a period of adjustment and transition as we move to this new phase of operations. I also extend my sincere gratitude for all that you have done during this period of closure and for the effort you are taking to prepare and implement this new chapter in an extraordinary year.
We continue to remember in prayer those who have suffered during this period of pandemic and for all those who continue to care of them.
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Thomas Cardinal Collins Archbishop of Toronto