Mickey Conlon, The Catholic Register

Mickey Conlon, The Catholic Register

Priests and religious overwhelmed by the new realities of their ministry due to the COVID-19 pandemic are being offered help to cope with issues brought on by the crisis.

It’s a cliché heard all the time: “This is a movie that is so right for its time.”

Deacon Michael Corpus had family coming to Toronto from California and the Philippines to attend his May ordination to the priesthood. Other members of his St. Augustine’s Seminary graduating class were expecting family from as far away as Poland, South Korea and South America.

The church bells of St. Augustine’s Catholic Church in Humboldt, Sask., are to chime 29 times at 4:50 p.m. (CST) April 6 to remember the 16 who died and 13 others injured two years ago when the Humboldt Broncos’ team bus collided with a semi-trailer near Tisdale in northern Saskatchewan.

Priests have not been spared from being infected — and dying — as COVID-19 sweeps the world.

Viewership has skyrocketed, appreciative comments are flowing in from around the world and the phone is ringing constantly in the Markham, Ont., offices of the National Catholic Broadcasting Council. It certainly isn’t business as usual.

Relief programs implemented by the federal government to counter the economic fallout from COVID-19 have staved off significant pay cuts for priests and saved staff at the Archdiocese of Toronto offices and parishes from layoffs. 

The sign on the door may read “Closed until further notice” at Loyola House Ignatius Jesuit Centre and other retreat centres around the country, but that doesn’t mean spiritual life needs to take a break.

Fr. Luis Lapinid can’t help but feel a little helpless in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak.

With Ontario schools officially shuttered until at least the start of May, education partners are ramping up plans to continue teaching students at home.