Fr. Matthew’s Pastoral Letter: (.pdf format)
From the Diocese of Calgary:
“The Guidelines for the Reintroduction of the Public Celebration of Holy Mass were developed by a task force the Bishops established under the direction of Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton and Bishop William McGrattan of Calgary. The document follows the recent release of the Alberta government’s Guidance for Places of Public Worship as part of Stage 1 of the provincial relaunch strategy, as well as consultations with Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and other experts.”
Bishop McGrattan’s message to the Faithful:
Receiving Holy Communion:
Instructional video from the Diocese on the distribution and reception of Holy Communion during Stage 1 of the Reintroduction of the Public Celebration of Holy Mass.
In the 14th century there was a plague in Italy, and St. Roch went to one of the towns most affected by it.
According to the Catholic Encyclopedia: “he devoted himself to the plague-stricken, curing them with the sign of the cross. He next visited Cesena and other neighboring cities and then Rome. Everywhere the terrible scourge disappeared before his miraculous power.”
St.Roch eventually contracted the plague himself, but he was also cured from the disease.
In 1414, during the Council of Constance, the plague having broken out in that city, the Fathers of the Council ordered public prayers and processions in honor of the saint, and immediately the plague ceased.
Again and again , St.Roch was invoked during various medieval plagues and this is why he is labeled a patron against plagues.
This Prayer Card may be downloaded for printing by clicking on the image. It is also found in our Prayer Card section, along with other saint’s Prayer Cards.
The Diocese of Calgary is launching the initiative to express our gratitude for today’s heroes – the men, women and children who are making time to serve others during these challenging weeks of the global pandemic.
“From Divine Mercy Sunday, April 19th to Pentecost Sunday, May 31st, the Diocese will be using all our communication channels to encourage the faithful to go out of their to thank the people who are making sacrifices to provide the essential services that help to create stability in our homes and country during this difficult and unstable time.”
Daily Mass Livestreams:
Here is a list of Parish daily and Sunday Mass livestreams:
Bishop McGrattan has issued a letter regarding the indefinite suspension of Masses and how Holy Week and the Triduum will be celebrated.
“In my letter of March 16, 2020, I informed you that the suspension of public Masses would continue until April 5. Today, I am writing you this letter to inform you of the extension of the suspension indefinitely until the situation improves, and we will be able to gather publicly.”
The full letter may be read on the Diocese Website (PDF)
In addition the Diocese has issued the following documents: (PDF format)
More information and updates may be found on the Diocese Website. These measures are in keeping with a Decree issued by The Congregation for Divine Worship . Information on that Decree may be found on The Vatican News Site.
The Decree itself may be read in full HERE: (PDF)
All information from the Diocese and Bishop McGrattan may now be found in our NEWS section, accessible from the menu at the top of the page. This information will be kept current as we receive it.
Alternatively, it may be accessed directly from the Diocese Website.
Accessible from the top menu, we now have a section to host videos. Currently available are Fr.Matthew’s Homilies for the 4th Sunday of Lent and the Feast of the Assumption.
A letter from Fr. Matthew to our Parishioners in these trying times: (in PDF format , at the link below)
Bishop McGrattan has issued a dispensation for the Obligation to attend Mass through April 05.
The Dispensation letter may be read the link below (Adobe PDF)
Bishop McGrattan has issued a Letter to the Faithful on the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Cancellation of Masses. The full letter may be read at the following link:
Directives, letter, prayers and resources are available on the Diocese website:
In solidarity with the efforts of the government and the community to mitigate the further spread of COVID-19, the following new safety measures dealing with the celebration of the Sacraments in the Diocese of Calgary will ensure that our practices are in full compliance with the required restrictions of Alberta Health Services in response to the global pandemic:
- Places of worship are no longer exempt from the recommended restrictions on mass gathering. Public health officials continue to recommend that all mass gatherings of 250 people or more be cancelled, and this now includes worship gatherings.
- Any event that has more than 50 attendees and expects to have international participants, or involves critical infrastructure staff, seniors, or other high-risk populations, should also be cancelled.
- Events that do not meet these criteria can proceed at this time, but risk mitigation must be in place, such as enforcing distancing of one or two metres between attendees and using sanitizer stations.
All Masses will be cancelled throughout the Diocese of Calgary from Tuesday, March 17 to Sunday, April 5, 2020 -Weekday Masses will be live-streamed from St. Peter’s Church
- Sunday Mass will be live-streamed from St. Mary’s Cathedral with the Bishop as celebrant
Funeral Masses may be celebrated in the parish church but attendance is restricted to the immediate family. Funeral services without a Mass may be held in the funeral homes. Funeral receptions are prohibited.
- Sprinkling: When holy water is required for blessing, fill a clean vessel with fresh water. Bless the water either before or during the celebration. Immediately following the celebration, pour the remaining water down the sacrarium. You should not touch the water with your hands but use an aspergillum.
- Sign of Peace: Refrain from shaking hands – a simple bow, nod, or “Peace be with you” to your neighbour is appropriate.
- Holy Communion: Only distribute Holy Communion under the Body of Christ (Host). Only priests may distribute Holy Communion to those who choose to receive on their tongue at a designated area apart from the main aisle. Those who choose to receive Holy Communion in the hand will be asked to approach the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion or a priest who is not distributing Communion to those receiving on the tongue. Only priests are to consume the Precious Blood.
- Recognizing non-communicants: Ministers may offer a brief prayer for those in the Assembly who come forward in the communion procession and who are not receiving Holy Communion, such as “May God bless you” or “May God continue the good work in you.” This prayer is to be offered audibly and may not be accompanied by the gesture associated with a blessing, e.g., the raising of the hand or the sign of the cross. Neither ordinary nor Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion should touch the individual.
- Hand Hygiene: Ministers of communion should sanitize their hands both before and after distributing communion.
Sacrament of Penance
The Sacrament of Penance may be celebrated in a manner that fulfils the requirements mandated by Alberta Health Services:
- Confessions from behind a screen: the required distance needs to be maintained between the penitent and confessor and the confessional screens should be sanitized after each use. Due to the small space of some confessionals, it may be necessary to set up a separate reconciliation room to ensure the required distance between the penitent and confessor. The screen should still be sanitized after each use unless there is a distance kept between the penitent and the screen as well.
- Face-to-face confessions: these are permitted as long as the required distance is maintained between the penitent and the confessor.
- There should be no physical contact between the penitent and the confessor.
- Public penitential services are prohibited.
Anointing of the Sick
Anointing of the Sick may be celebrated according to the following directives:
- Only immediate family, if present, may gather with the priest and sick person.
- If confession is to be celebrated before the anointing, please maintain the required physical distance.
- Use a cotton ball to apply the oil for the anointing. The cotton ball should be burned later.
- If the person to be anointed is in a health care facility, the priest has the obligation to check restrictions in place in the facility.
Only live-streamed Lenten missions are permitted.
All sacrament preparation workshops or sessions are cancelled and are prohibited. With parents being the first teachers of the Faith, parents are responsible for the formation of their children using the prescribed program materials and are to attest to the readiness of the candidates for the sacraments. If you have questions, please contact Huy Nguyen, 403-218-5547, firstname.lastname@example.org or Dorothy Burns, 403-218-5503, email@example.com.
Formation of catechumens and candidates are suspended. It will be left to the Pastor to determine their readiness. The celebration of full initiation will be postponed to later in the year. The celebration of the sacraments for full initiation will be postponed to later in the year as determined by the Bishop in consultation with the parish priest.
Prior to the week of April 5, a new directive will be issued to address Holy Week and the celebration of the Paschal Triduum.
When we receive the sacrament of Holy Communion, “we unite ourselves to Christ, who makes us sharers in his Body and Blood to form a single body,” (CCC 1331). Those who are unable to attend Mass or to receive the Sacrament are encouraged to unite themselves to Christ in prayer through what is known as a spiritual communion. As Pope St. John Paul II explained in his encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia (no. 34), when it is not possible to receive communion it is beneficial to cultivate in your heart a constant desire for the Sacrament. This prayer from St. Alphonsus of Liguori can help you to make this act of spiritual communion:
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.
Resources for Domestic Churches
Other ways to pray when you cannot attend liturgical services include:
- Read Scripture or practice Lectio Divina. A link to the daily Mass readings is available through the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops: https://nlo.cccb.ca/index.php/weekday-lectionary
- Pray the Liturgy of the Hours, also known as the Prayer of the Church. http://universalis.com/ offers access without a subscription
- Do spiritual reading
- Silent prayer
- Rosary and other devotional prayers
Apart from Funeral Masses, there are no other public gatherings permitted in the church until further notice.
Access to Churches
Parishes are asked to keep the churches open during the day so that individuals may be able to visit and pray before the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle. However, groups are not allowed to assemble in churches. The number of people present in Adoration Chapels should be restricted so as to observe the AHS recommendations for social distancing.
From The Diocese of Calgary – March 13, 2019:
Avoid all hand contact. If your parish encourages greeting one another before Mass, please do so without shaking hands. Greeters and clergy should refrain from shaking hands with others before and after gatherings. Individuals should not hold hands during the Lord’s Prayer.
Blessing with Holy Water
When holy water is required for blessing, fill a clean vessel with fresh water. Bless the water either before or during the celebration. Immediately following the celebration, pour the remaining water down the sacrarium. You should not touch the water with your hands but use an aspergillum.
Baptisms may still take place but rather than at the baptismal font, they are to take place in the sanctuary, where a vessel of water should be prepared beforehand. There should be a second empty vessel over which the water will be poured so that the water poured over the person being baptized does not return to the original vessel holding the blessed water. The priest should use a pitcher to pour the water, not his hands. Following the baptism the water should be poured down the sacrarium or into the ground.
Avoid passing the basket from person to person. Take up collections using a basket on the end of a long stick if your church has it or else invite people to place their offering into a basket upon entering or exiting the church. Ushers should be stationed by each basket if they are at the entrance.
Gifts of Bread and Wine
Omit the procession with the gifts. Keep the gifts of bread and wine covered on the credence table in the sanctuary until they are to be brought to the altar.
All high-contact surfaces in the church including but not limited to pews, door handles, liturgical items, hymnals and musical instruments, should be sanitized between services.
In accordance with diocesan policy, ministers may offer a brief prayer for those in the Assembly who come forward in the communion procession and who are not receiving Holy Communion, such as “May God bless you” or “May God continue the good work in you.” This prayer is to be offered audibly and may not be accompanied by the gesture associated with a blessing, e.g., the raising of the hand or the sign of the cross. Neither ordinary nor extraordinary ministers of communion should touch the individual.
In addition to the guidelines shared earlier this week, everyone distributing Holy Communion,including the celebrant, should sanitize their hands before and after distribution.
Petition for the Prayer of the Faithful
For all those suffering worldwide from the coronavirus whether in sickness or from loss, for frontline medical professionals treating those who are ill, for researchers, for all leaders advising, devising, and implementing measures to slow the spread of infection and keep people safe, and for the comfort of all who are isolated, lonely, and fearful, let us pray to the Lord:
The most current update as of March 12, 2020 from Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer recommended: Cancelling gatherings of more than 250 people NOT including places of worship, grocery stores, airports, or shopping centres
Cancelling events of less than 250 people that are expected to have international participants, critical infrastructure staff, seniors, or other high-risk populations. Events of fewer than 250 people that do not meet the above criteria can proceed but must have in place risk mitigation such as sanitizer stations, distancing between attendees, and a mechanism for keeping anyone ill from attending.
Provided that the above governmental requirements are met, the diocesan practice will be as follows:
- Masses will continue in regular places of worship
- Gatherings are Allowed if under 250 attendees
Some examples are:
- Rosary and devotional services
- Indoor/outdoor Stations of the Cross
- Penitential Services Parish Missions Sacrament preparations Youth meetings or events Retreats
- Communal meals and receptions, including but not limited to Coffee Sunday, Funeral Lunches,Lenten soup & bun suppers
- Speakers from outside Canada
Updates and news may be found at the Diocese Website:
- At the Sign of Peace, refrain from shaking hands – a simple bow, nod, or “Peace be with you” to your neighbour is appropriate.
- Baptismal and Holy Water fonts are to be emptied and are to be sanitized with water and bleach.
- Holy Communion will only be distributed under the Body of Christ (Host).
- Only priests may distribute Holy Communion to those who choose to receive on their tongue at a designated area apart from the main aisle. Note: It has been shared by some public health experts that there is no indication of increased risk of infection in receiving the host either on the tongue or in the hand.
- Those who choose to receive Holy Communion in the hand will be asked to approach the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion or a priest who is not distributing Communion to those receiving on the tongue. Only priests are to consume the Precious Blood.
- Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion who feel uncomfortable distributing Holy Communion should be excused from this ministry.
These measures are effective immediately and will remain in place until notified otherwise by the Diocese
Pastoral Care Ministers
Pastoral care ministers who bring Holy Communion to shut-ins should refrain from visiting homes or facilities where cases of influenza or COVID-19 have been reported.
We are in communication with the City of Calgary and will continue to monitor daily the Alberta Health Services directives on public gatherings.
International Travel & Pilgrimages
The Provincial Chief Medical Officer has advised that persons over 65 not travel outside Canada. There are always health risks when you travel. Please check the following destinations that have travel health notices for COVID-19: China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iran, Japan, Italy, Singapore, South Korea, Spain. Be aware of evolving travel advisories to different regions.
You should expect increased health screening measures at points of entry for international destinations, including airports. Some airports are imposing control measures, including quarantines. Public health services advise that if you become sick while travelling, contact a health professional to explain your symptoms. If you become sick upon your return, call Health Link at 811 for instructions.
Upon your return to the Diocese from international travel, even if you are feeling well, the Diocese now requires you to voluntarily self-isolate until 14 days have passed since your trip. We are taking the necessary precautions to safeguard the health of our parishioners and the public at this time.
If you are taking a group for a pilgrimage, if at all possible, the Diocese recommends postponing or cancelling as the best possible precaution. Please discuss this option with your operator.
To continue to support and maintain community health safety, the following reminders are to be shared with parishioners so that we reduce the risk to seniors and those with underlying conditions who are the biggest risk groups:
- Frequently and properly wash hands with soap and water
- Sneeze and cough into your sleeve
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
- Cleaning staff in churches are to sanitize surfaces that are frequently touched
- The obligation to attend Sunday Mass does not apply to those who are ill, especially those who suffer from a contagious illness; those with flu-like symptoms may choose to remain at home so as to not spread the virus to others.
“A new gift to our parish, Lent 2020 – and a beautiful companion in prayer through Lent. The statue of Our Lady of the Assumption has been in the parish for a while as the focus in our Marian alcove – and she will reemerge to continue assuming into heaven at Easter.” – Fr. Matthew
Please see the attached Pastoral Letter of Bishop McGrattan to the Faithful on the Program of Spiritual Renewal in the Diocese of Calgary. The letter is available in PDF format.
Remaining True to Christ Now and at the Hour of our Death:
A Pastoral Letter from the Catholic Bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories.
The Bishops of Alberta and the Northwest Territories have released a Pastoral Letter on the federal government’s two-week public consultation on legislation to expand eligibility for physician-assisted suicide.
The letter (in Adobe PDF format) may be read HERE:
“Gloria in excelsis Deo, et in terra pax hominibus…”
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will…” We have not sung this for the past four Sundays of Advent, and will sing it for the first time again for Christmas. You’ve likely noticed that this hymn of praise is a staple at Sunday Mass, and is sung or recited at every Sunday Mass outside of Advent and Lent.
Through this hymn, we carry with us the song of the angels sung in the fields outside Bethlehem that first Christmas night, as they announced the birth of our Saviour to the shepherds (Luke 2:8-15). Each Sunday we proclaim together the wonder of Christ’s birth and the glory of God!
“We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we
glorify you, we give you thanks for your great
On this Christmas night or Christmas day, and truly through-out the whole season of Christmas, we turn our attention as a family of faith towards the wonder and glory of God, who has come to be with us. What is the true origins of Christmas? It is the Christ-child, God among us, Jesus, the only Son of God the Father, who was born to join us in the realities of human life in all its complexity. He became one of us and one with us, so He could save us.
The Light of the world has flooded the darkness of night, the darkness of fear, of sin, of sadness, and of shame with a Divine Light that casts away all shadows. Jesus’ Divine Brilliance heals and brings peace, joy, offers clarity, knowledge, and wisdom. In sorrow, we are reminded that we are not alone by turning to adore the One who has come to be with us, and who has promised that he will always be with each one of us—out of a love so great, so pure, and so deep.
Personally and as a family of faith, let us turn to Christ along with the shepherds, the angels, and Mary and Joseph, to praise and adore the Child who has brought us peace and new life.
Merry Christmas and many blessings to you all!
It is time again this year (very soon!) to begin preparation for your child’s reception of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion! Here is a letter to parents from Fr. Matthew and the necessary forms. The registration forms can be downloaded, printed and filled out and returned to the Parish Office.