Safely worshiping during the pandemic

To help slow the spread of COVID-19, Bishop Daniel Miehm, in compliance with directives from the Province of Ontario, has asked that certain modifications be made to the schedules, capacities and practices of all churches, chapels, parish offices and halls. Until churches are able to fully open safely, the bishop dispenses all Catholics residing in the Diocese from the obligation to participate in Sunday Mass.

COVID-19 Updates from the Diocese of Peterborough

For all who come to our church…

All who enter our church or buildings are required to maintain appropriate social distancing (2m) and wear appropriate face masks or coverings unless they have a medical exemption.

Music during our celebrations will be sung by a soloist. All who join us are asked to participate by listening only.

People of different households will be seated two meters apart.

After every liturgy, the church space, pews and common contact points will be sanitized. The church is also cleaned throughout the week.

Baptisms, Funerals and Weddings

Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals can be celebrated. Capacity is restricted only by the need for those of different households to be seated two meters apart. Observing this restriction, we can typically comfortable accommodate approximately 60 people in the church. Funeral homes may employ additional safety measures or limits.

Parents are still able to prepare for the Baptism of their child. Preparation is done online at whatever pace parents set. After preparing, parents can contact the parish priest to set a date.

Sunday and Daily Masses

All publicly celebrated Masses Sunday are celebrated and open to anyone, although appropriate social distancing must be observed. Additionally, Sunday Mass and some daily Masses continue to be streamed online. See the parish website for the current schedule. For those who feel more comfortable, it is possible to participate in the Sunday 9am Mass from your vehicle. Park in the designated spots and listen through your car radio at 101.1FM; Communion will be brought to you at the appropriate time.

During Communion, those wishing to receive are asked to exercise the option to receive Communion in the hand and not directly on the tongue.

Adoration and Confession

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the Sacrament of Reconciliation will be available according to the schedule. Our Confessional has been updated with appropriate barriers to keep all safe. Currently, Confessions are heard only through the screen, not face-to-face.

Parish Office

The parish office is open on Tuesdays from 2pm to 7pm and Thursdays from 8:30am to 1:30pm. Outside these hours, feel free to call and leave a message. Email is checked regularly. Mass Intentions can be arranged online. Priests can be reached by email or phone. Arrange a phone call or online or in person meeting with a priest if you wish.

Parish Hall and Food Bank

Currently, our parish hall is closed to outside groups. Parish groups may hold events and meetings in our hall. Additionally, groups may meet or arrange activities online.

The essential service of the Food Bank will continue to operate.

Activities that encourage participants to pass objects from person to person (card games) or to ignore social distancing (dances) are not permitted.

Those entering our halls are required to provide contact tracing details, wear an appropriate face mask or covering, maintain appropriate social distancing.

Sacramental Preparation

Sacramental Preparation for Baptism, First Reconciliation, First Communion and Confirmation continues to take place online.

Participate in the Sunday Mass virtually:

See St. Joesph Church Live Online

All are encouraged to participate by praying an ‘Act of Spiritual Communion’

An Act of Spiritual Communion

My Jesus,
I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.

The St. Vincent de Paul food bank will continue to serve those in need.

Vaccine policy for clergy, staff, volunteers and vendors

The official position of the Catholic Church is that there is no moral or ethical problems with the COVID vaccines available to Canadians. Recognizing our call to care for the common good, Pope Francis has also encouraged all Catholics to be vaccinated.

Following the directions of the Provincial Government and under the guidance of health units and medical professionals, the Diocese of Peterborough has released a COVID Vaccination Policy for clergy, staff, vendors and volunteers. In short, all clergy, staff, vendors and volunteers must be fully vaccinated or provide a weekly negative COVID rapid test before fulfilling their ministry. Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion must be fully vaccinated.

This policy is temporary and does not apply to those who come to our church to worship or pray.

Those who serve our parish as volunteers are asked to send a copy of their vaccination receipt to the parish office as soon as possible. Copies of receipts can be left in the collection or in the mail slot of the parish office (in an envelope) or a picture of a receipt can be emailed to the office.

Submitted receipts are kept confidential and will be destroyed once the policy is no longer in effect.
At a discussion this week for those who serve our parish as volunteers, Fr. Craig explained the policy further and answered questions. A recording of the discussion is available here.

In the meantime, all are encouraged to pray for all those affected by COVID-19, perhaps through this prayer written by Pope Francis:

Pope Francis Offers a Prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary for Protection from COVID-19

“O Mary, you shine continuously along our journey as a sign of salvation and hope. We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick, who at the Cross was near to the pain of Jesus, keeping your faith firm.
You, Salvation of the Roman people, know what we need, and we trust that you will provide for those needs so that, as at Cana of Galilee, joy and celebration may return after this moment of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform ourselves to the will of the Father and to do what Jesus tells us, He who took our sufferings upon Himself, and took up our sorrows to bring us, through the Cross, to the joy of the Resurrection.
We seek refuge under your protection, O Holy Mother of God. Do not despise our pleas – we who are put to the test – and deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.”