This weekend saw the cautious resumption of Lord’s Day Masses in two Cornwall Catholic parishes. Blessed Sacrament Parish celebrated Holy Mass at 5 p.m. on Saturday and at 10 a.m. on Sunday. On the liturgical calendar, the feast of the Body & Blood of Christ is celebrated this weekend. As such, a Corpus Christi procession around the neighbourhood followed Mass.
With the provincially mandated COVID-19 occupancy of 30% of seating capacity, each Mass can accommodate a maximum of about 50 parishioners.
The much larger St. Columban church, mother church of all Cornwall Catholic parishes, drew a turnout slightly higher than that at its Saturday 5:30 p.m. Mass., filling 30% of the centre aisle, leaving both side aisles empty.
St. Columban also celebrated Sunday Mass at the usual 7:30, 9:30 and 11:00 a.m. time slots.
Both churches required attendees to enter via one specified door and exit by a different door. Both invited parishioners to deposit their tithe on entry rather than during the customary offertory procession. Both encouraged the wearing of a mask or other facial covering for anyone not in the sanctuary, modified the typical exchange of peace, omitted congregational singing and sent priest and extraordinary ministers of Communion to each parishioner, rather than the other way around. At. St. Columban, a two person music ministry helped to create a prayerful atmosphere by providing music for a few hymns, but not the usual full complement of liturgical music.
Who ever would have envisioned the need for personal protective equipment just to attend Mass! This is far from “business as usual.”
While St. Andrew’s Parish in nearby St. Andrew’s West wasn’t ready to re-open its doors just yet, pastor Fr. Louis Groetelaars invited parishioners and others to participate in a drive-by Corpus Christi procession at 11 a.m. on Sunday morning near the historic church. The event was also livestreamed on Groetelaars’ Facebook page, as is the case for daily Mass and special events.
Adorers lined the road in their vehicles in front of the church, past Guy Lauzon’s residence (which is for sale) and well beyond. The procession cut the corner to avoid disruption of traffic at the busy intersection, past the parish hall and into the south parking lot where each vehicle stopped for a few seconds for the occupants to receive a blessing.
The Ottawa-Cornwall archdiocese announced that St. Francis de Sales and St. Peter’s Parishes will resume communal celebration of Lord’s Day Masses next weekend. Other parishes are free to follow suit when they have sufficient comfort level doing so. In the case of St. Francis, parishioners are encouraged to respond to parish e-mails or phone calls each week indicating how many from their household will attend a particular Mass. Depending upon how many come from one household, they can accommodate 53-103 worshippers. In his weekly 9:30 a.m. Sunday morning livestreamed Mass, Fr. Kevin Maloney explained that it may not be possible for every St. Francis parishioner to attend Mass in-person every week. The dispensation from the obligation to attend Holy Mass has been extended for those who are unable to attend at this time; Maloney and Groetelaars will continue the livestreaming for the benefit of those who are unable to attend a church.