Dear St. Joseph’s Parish community,

After a three-month suspension of public Masses, we are preparing to resume our weekend liturgies June 20/21, 2020 according to the guidelines of the Archdiocese of Ottawa-Cornwall. We are excited to see you again in person! Our celebrations and time together, however, will look a little different, as we follow best practices in this time of pandemic. Below, we are providing you with some information on what to expect as we re-open our parish.

Front Office Hours:

The front office will re-open Monday, June 15th at 9:00 a.m. The new hours of operation for the front office are:

  • Monday to Friday: 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • Saturday/Sunday: Closed

We will reassess our front office hours in August and will consider resuming the full schedule.

Weekday Noon Mass:

Weekday Mass resumes Wednesday, June 17 at noon in the church. We will be using the church, rather than the rectory chapel, in order to maintain social distancing. Please use the main church doors to enter. Weekday Mass will be celebrated every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at noon.

Sunday Masses

Mass resumes the weekend of June 20-21, 2020, but it will look different from what we are accustomed to at St. Joe’s. Here are some measures that you can expect at church to keep everyone safe in this time of pandemic:

  • The church will celebrate at 30 percent capacity, with appropriate physical distancing. As such, the maximum capacity for any Mass is 90, including everyone present. Throughout the church, whenever possible, we will maintain physical distancing of 6 ft. To that end, every second pew will be cordoned off. Please see here for registration information.
  • The presiding priest will check his temperature before each Mass. If it is at or exceeds 37.8 C/100 F oral or 37.5 C/99.5 F forehead or he shows any compatible symptoms, he will not celebrate Mass. Anyone involved in active ministry during Mass will also check their temperature prior to the start of the liturgy. If, as a parishioner, you have any symptoms of illness and especially if you have a temperature, please stay at home.
  • Only the main church entrance will be available for entrance and exit. The doors will remain open during Mass so there will be no need to touch the handle. A staff member or volunteer greeter will be present at the entrance to assist with access control.
  • Greeters and anyone involved in access control will wear a mask. We are encouraging parishioners to wear a mask as well and to bring one from home. If you do not have one, but would like to wear one, we will have disposable masks available near the entrance.
  • Two hand sanitizing stations will be set up near the entrance.
  • You will find directional arrows on the floor of the church indicating the appropriate direction and physical distancing requirements.
  • Prior to Sunday Mass, all printed material will be removed from the church. The Sunday Bulletin will not be published at this time, but we will continue to publish a digital weekly parish update on our website, similar to what we have been publishing the past three months.
  • The My Little Church area will remain closed during Phase 2 of Ontario’s reopening. Children should be seated with their parent(s) or guardian(s) in the pews.
  • As per guidelines issued by the Archdiocese, Fr. Jim will not wear a mask nor disposable gloves during liturgy, but may wear a mask for Holy Communion.
  • Unfortunately, singing provides a significant opportunity for the projection of particles from the mouth. Parishioners attending Mass are asked not to sing at this time to minimize the potential spread of the virus.
  • The St. Joe’s choir will not return at this time. A cantor (accompanied by a single instrumentalist) will sing at Mass.
  • The Sunday offering will be received at the doors of the church at the beginning or the end of Mass where people can place their donations in a box.
  • The Greeting of Peace is maintained; however, no sign such as shaking hands is permitted during the pandemic. A simple bow of the head towards one’s neighbour is encouraged as a sign of peace.
  • Holy Communion is distributed to the faithful by the priest and extraordinary ministers of Communion. All ministers of Holy Communion will sanitize their hands before distributing the Eucharist.
  • The dialogue between the Eucharistic Minister and communicant occurs at 6 ft physical distance. After the dialogue, the communicant approaches the Eucharistic Minister who carefully places the Body of Christ in the communicant’s hand without touching the person. Communicants are instructed to remove their masks, using the straps and without touching the front of their masks, while the person ahead of them is receiving Holy Communion.
  • Our confessional kitchen will not be available in this phase of the reopening and parishioners are asked not to congregate indoors after Mass has concluded.
  • Development & Peace coffee will not be sold during Phase 2 of the reopening.
  • The washroom will remain open, but access will be limited in order to maintain physical distancing.
  • All surfaces in the church will be sanitized regularly with an approved multi surface cleaner.

Sacrament of Reconciliation

Reconciliation is available by appointment. Please contact Fr. Jim (jbleackley@omilacombe.ca). Fr. Jim will wear a mask during the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the faithful are asked to wear a mask as well. Social distancing of 6 ft will be maintained during Reconciliation.

We know that these safety guidelines will make Mass feel quite different than what our community is accustomed to at St. Joe’s. The Archdiocese offers the following thoughts:

“We are mindful of the sanctity of every life as we use these guiding principles in our planning:

• I am my brother’s keeper. We are responsible for others. In justice, as well as charity, we must not recklessly endanger others, or cause their death.

• Love your neighbour as yourself.”

Continued online Pastoral/Liturgical Content

Recognizing that not all of our parishioners will be able to return to Mass at this stage in our reopening, the Parish will continue to produce and share digital liturgical content ahead of each weekend.

Thank you for your patience as we implement a safe way to resume our public Masses. Even though we will be restricted in many ways, we are excited to welcome you back to St. Joe’s!

Peace,

Chris

Christopher Adam
Executive Director