Parishioners taking part in an outdoor Mass kneel on the frozen ground of the parking lot at Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral in Montreal. Photo by Peter Stockland

Quebec indoor Masses to resume Feb. 7

  • January 31, 2022

Church doors in Quebec will swing open again Feb. 7 for the celebration of indoor Mass, nearly 40 days since the provincial government locked down parishes across the province on New Year’s Eve.

However, a vaccination passport upon entry is mandated for parishioners ages 14 to 75 as places of worship welcome up to 50-per-cent capacity to a maximum of 250 people.

Up to 50 people may attend funerals. Premier Francois Legault declared no proof of vaccination rules necessary for these services because of “humanitarian reasons.”

Over the bitter cold month of January in Quebec, outdoor liturgical celebrations were the only option for vaccine-free congregants and became increasingly popular as the lockdown progressed.

Quebec unveiled its reopening intentions Jan. 25. Three days prior, the Quebec Interreligious Table — a consultation body uniting Christians, Muslims and Jews — released a statement asking the government to recognize churches as essential and prioritize their reopening.

“People who believe or are in spiritual search find essential resources in places of worship that provide direct support for their mental health, especially in difficult times,” reads the statement, guided by Msgr. Pierre Murray, secretary-general of the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Quebec. “Prayer, recollection and celebration together allow individuals and families to nurture the faith that gives meaning to their lives, courage in times of trial and motivation to care for the most vulnerable.”

Meanwhile, in the Maritimes, the indoor Mass disruptions in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island were temporary, as planned.

All jurisdictions of New Brunswick shifted back to level two of its COVID-19 alert system Jan. 31. Parishes can operate at 50-per-cent capacity at this threshold if no vaccine passport system is employed. Congregational singing or choir music is not permitted. Only one soloist may perform.

As of Jan. 31, up to 50 people may attend worship services, weddings and funeral ceremonies in P.E.I. Wedding and funeral receptions are off-limits. Congregational singing with masks on is allowed.

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