Diocese of Calgary – COVID-19 Additional Directives – Mar.13

From The Diocese of Calgary – March 13, 2019:

Hand contact
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.

Collection Baskets
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.

Sanitize Surfaces
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.

Blessing Non-Communicants
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.

Holy Communion
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:

Public Gatherings
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.

Alberta Health Services Corona Virus Information for Albertans

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
  • Adoration
  • Indoor/outdoor Stations of the Cross
  • Penitential Services Parish Missions Sacrament preparations Youth meetings or events Retreats

Not Allowed

  • 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:





WRITTEN BY: Stephen Sander