Prayers in time of the pandemic

Masses offered without a public congregation

  • After further prayerful consideration; and after no small amount of sadness; and after hearing from senior pastors and others about the need for a single directive for the entire Archdiocese; and in keeping with the regulations of the other Dioceses of British Columbia; Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB has directed that all Masses, whether Sunday or weekday, beginning on Saturday, March 21, are to be offered without a public congregation, until further notice. This likewise applies to other parish activities and celebrations, such as Stations of the Cross, and so on.

Parish Measures

  • In accordance with the Public Health Officer Order, any parish or Archdiocesan event is limited to a maximum of 50 people.
  • Churches are to remain open as usual, for private prayer. Daily Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament is encouraged for as many hours as possible. Ensure by suitable means that the required “social distancing” is maintained by those at prayer.
  • Avoid physical contact with others. A distance of two metres should be maintained at all times. Congregants should sit in alternating rows. It may be helpful to use masking tape on pew backs to mark off two-metre spacing.
  • For the good of the wider community, seniors or those who have serious medical conditions are strongly urged to remain at home and pray to the Father in secret (cf. Mt 6:6).
  • Remove Holy Water from fonts which are used by our parishioners to bless themselves;
  • Remove all hymnals, prayer cards, envelopes and other materials from the pews.
  • Following each gathering, all pew backs, table-tops and other high-touch surfaces should be disinfected, inasmuch as possible.
  • If possible, hand sanitizer or hand washing stations should be available to all at the entrance of the church, parish hall and other parish facilities.
  • In order to reduce social isolation, parishes are strongly encouraged to find ways to mobilize people to make phone calls to those who must remain at home, and to provide services such as delivering food and necessary items. Being in regular contact with the parish community will alleviate loneliness for the homebound.

Sunday Obligation

  • In order to continue assisting local public health efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19, the obligation to attend Sunday Mass is lifted for everyone.
  • Everyone is encouraged to watch Mass online or on TV, or have a time of prayer, if possible with the readings of the Sunday, and a spiritual communion.


  • All communal penitential services are to be cancelled.
  • Provision is to be made for the Sacrament of Reconciliation to be available to all who seek it, taking into account the following considerations:
    • Confessionals should not be used at this time, for health reasons;
    • Confessions should be heard in a room large enough to allow at least a two-metre distance between priest and penitent, but without being overheard. Provision should also be made (a portable screen or other means) for those who wish to confess anonymously. This may require playing chant or other music in the background. I count on you to find other creative ways to make it possible for the faithful to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.