Please read Archbishop Smith’s Complete Letter to the Faithful here:
March 16, 2020
To the Catholic Faithful of the Archdiocese of Edmonton,
…Until late Sunday afternoon, an exemption from the ban on public gatherings of more than 250 people was granted to places of worship. In Dr. Hinshaw’s office’s communique of March 15th, that exemption was rescinded. It is now clearly a public health imperative that liturgical gatherings in excess of 250 people not take place. A further prohibition is placed upon gatherings in excess of fifty people where it is anticipated that groups considered at high-risk, such as seniors, will be present.
Many of our Lord’s Day Eucharistic celebrations on weekends normally involve more than 250 people. To ask parishes to limit the number of parishioners coming for mass to that number would not be practical. In addition, weekday masses, Lenten missions and parish penitential celebrations will often draw more than fifty people, many of whom are seniors. Therefore, effective immediately and until further notice, I am putting in place throughout the Archdiocese of Edmonton the following measures:
- All weekend and weekday masses in the Archdiocese of Edmonton are cancelled until further notice.
With respect to the Liturgies of Holy Week, further directions will be forthcoming in due course.
- All Lenten parish missions are cancelled. Parishes may consider livestreaming or recording the presentation of the speaker for posting on the parish website, but no public gathering is to be held.
- All parish penitential celebrations are cancelled. Priests will remain available to hear confessions, but the use of the confessional is prohibited throughout the period of this pandemic.
- All celebrations of Baptism, First Eucharist, First Reconciliation and Confirmation are postponed until the Chief Medical Officer has advised that the pandemic has ended.
- This directive applies likewise to the celebration of initiation into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil. This, too, is to be postponed until the Chief Medical Officer has advised that the pandemic is ended.
- Sacramental preparation classes for both children and adults are cancelled. Catechists will provide to parents the resources necessary to help them complete at home the remaining instruction to be given to their children.
- In the case of the RCIA, the pastor or catechist may proceed to the personal interviews of the candidates to determine their readiness.
- Funerals may continue to be celebrated in our churches. In consultation with the relatives of the deceased, the priest celebrant will determine if participation needs to be limited to family members so as to be in compliance with prevailing medical directives. Public receptions following the funeral liturgy should not take place.