Churches in areas around Toronto will be empty after additional lockdown measures. Michael Swan

Public Masses suspended in York Region, Windsor-Essex

  • December 11, 2020

Catholic churches in York Region and Windsor-Essex County are joining Toronto and Peel Region in lockdown Dec. 14 following new restrictions to battle the pandemic by the Province of Ontario.

“It is increasingly frustrating for all of us to see certain businesses open while others remain closed and that some, including places of worship, appear to be severely restricted with little evidence to suggest they are a cause of transmission,” Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, said in a statement. “Earlier this week, I communicated these concerns directly to Premier (Doug) Ford.”

Because of rules announced Dec. 11 restricting attendance inside churches to 10, Collins has directed churches in York to cancel public Masses beginning Dec. 14. They are encouraged to be open for private prayer and for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Bishop Ron Fabbro of London likewise instructed churches in Windsor-Essex to suspend public Masses.

Toronto entered a 28-day lockdown beginning Nov. 23.

“We must endeavour to balance this frustration with the fact that we are still in the midst of a pandemic, 13,000 Canadians have lost their lives to the virus and hospitals in many regions of the archdiocese are approaching or exceeding capacity,” said Collins. “Our reverence for the sanctity of every life compels each one of us to follow the restrictions out of love for our neighbour, to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to help us return to full ministry as soon as possible.”

Parishioners are encouraged to view live-streamed or televised Masses. A full list is available at The cardinal added he will continue to celebrate a live-streamed Mass daily from St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica at 7:30 a.m.

“Let us redouble our efforts to enter more deeply into prayer, to be mindful of those who are sick and those who have died as we make every effort to reach those who are isolated in creative and profound ways,” Collins said.

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