As of Monday, March 8, 2021, Toronto will return to the colour-coded framework with the Grey (Lockdown) designation. Under current provincial guidelines, this does not change the situation for places of worship with restrictions of no more than 10 people in the church, including the priest and those volunteering. Lourdes continues to be open for private prayer, for the distribution of Holy Communion and for the Sacrament of Penance. We also continue to offer our daily Masses on Zoom and to live-stream our Sunday, 11:30am Mass.
Cardinal Collins expressed his concern over the present situation in an email sent out to all parishioner in the Archdiocese. In particular the Cardinal is deeply troubled by the fact that the province has relaxed restrictions for retailers in the Grey zones, permitting them to operate at 25% capacity, while places of worship continue with a hard cap of 10 people.
My dear Friends,
A few days ago, a movie scout contacted one of our churches to inquire the basement hall could be used to feed a crew of 50 people. "We have dispensation from the province and strict protocols will be enforced." Later in the week, the priest presided at a funeral in the same church, limited to 10 people inside (including himself).
Which of these do we consider more essential?
You are invited to visit aplacetoworship.ca to respectfully share your concerns with your local Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) and Premier Ford regarding places of worship and Covid-19 capacity restrictions.
The province has relaxed restrictions in Grey (Lockdown) regions for retailers, allowing 25% capacity while places of worship can have no more than 10 people inside, whether they seat 100 or 1,000 people. Is this a fair and equitable approach? Visit aplacetoworship.ca today!
Parishioners can visit aplacetoworship.ca to send an electronic letter to their Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) with a copy to Premier Ford. Visitors provide their name, e-mail address and postal code. The program automates a prepared letter. The visitor may also edit the letter if they wish. The process should take less than 2 minutes, slightly longer if they wish to craft their own letter.
Those who sign up on the website will only have their e-mail used for the purposes of the “A Place to Worship” campaign – no sharing of lists or other solicitation (financial or otherwise).
Tell Your MPP that Places of Worship Deserve Fair and Equitable Treatment
Visit aplacetoworship.ca – A Common Sense Approach to Covid-19 Restrictions
Throughout the pandemic, places of worship have followed provincial restrictions and their own strict health and safety protocols. The most recent announcement eases the rules for retailers, allowing 25% capacity while places of worship are restricted to 10 people, whether they can accommodate 100 or 1,000 people. Please visit aplacetoworship.ca and ask your MPP and Premier Ford to address this inequity today.
Key Messages for letters/communication include:
A fair and equitable approach to re-opening places of worship.
Provincial restrictions should use a percentage of capacity as opposed to a hard cap (like 10 people) regarding any restrictions both in Grey (Lockdown) Zones and for any future restrictions.
The province should engage directly with faith leaders to understand the essential nature of their work, to more fully understand how places of worship are operating safely and how they can collaborate moving forward.