Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto. Michael Swan

Christmas communion service approved for lockdown regions in Toronto

By 
  • December 17, 2020

Cardinal Thomas Collins has approved a short service to give parishes in lockdown regions within the Archdiocese of Toronto the option of offering Holy Communion on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day while maintaining the 10-person limit in churches.

The latest option for pastors comes after the Ontario government rejected a request by the archdiocese to lift the lockdown restrictions in Toronto, York and Peel regions and allow 30 per cent capacity for public Masses on Dec. 24-25, said a Dec. 17 statement to clergy and staff of the archdiocese.

“Recognizing the essential nature of the Eucharist, the source and summit of our spiritual strength as Christians, and the importance of Christmas, we want to provide an opportunity for the faithful who wish to do so, to spend time, even if briefly, at their local parish and, where possible, to receive Holy Communion,” Collins wrote.

With public Masses suspended in lockdown areas, Collins said that in parishes were “it is both safe and feasible to do so,” a Holy Communion service — which is between seven and eight minutes long — can be offered beginning at 3 p.m. Christmas Eve and continue Christmas Day. Ten people, including the priest, deacon or Eucharistic minister, will stand in front of the sanctuary for the service, which means pews will not have to be cleaned between services.

“For those parishes that wish to do this, online reservation systems are strongly encouraged to regulate attendance and allow for contact tracing,” said the statement.

Collins again encouraged churches to livestream Masses, and remain open for private prayer and Eucharistic Adoration while maintaining the 10-person limit. A list of churches livestreaming Masses is available at www.archtoronto.org.

Collins also requested the faithful to follow the government’s direction not to travel outside of their own region to places where public Christmas Masses may be available.

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