Protocols for Sunday Mass celebrations

Welcome back to S. Gabriel’s Parish! We missed seeing you at church and are so happy that the church is now open for Sunday masses, albeit on a limited capacity basis.

We recognize that things may not look or feel the same as they did before. Some may find this awkward or uncomfortable. Others may wonder why we have these new measures at all.

We want to assure you that these temporary measures are only in place to make sure you stay healthy. We also want to assure you that we have done everything we can do to protect your health while you are at church.

The church is thoroughly sanitized before every Mass thanks to a team of volunteers. More volunteers, especially for the 4:30 pm and the 10:30 am and 12:30 am masses, are needed to ensure the cleaning process is quick and effective. If you are willing to help after this, or any other Mass, please contact the parish office.

A few notes about Mass attendance for some time to come:

  • While not mandatory, we strongly encourage you to wear non-medical grade masks or face coverings to church. If you are unable to wear a face covering for the entire Mass, please consider wearing it when entering and exiting the church and while lining up for Holy Communion.
  • Where possible, please maintain six feet (two metres) of physical distance from other parishioners who are not members of your household.
  • Although we do have a cantor and organist, we will not have communal singing during Mass at this time – so no singing!
  • All children’s ministries during Mass are cancelled.
  • The offertory basket will not be passed around. If you are able, after Mass please leave a donation in the marked baskets as you leave the church. Also, please consider signing-up for Pre-Authorized Giving which is a convenient way to support the church whether you are present or not. Signup forms are available from the parish office. Thank you for your generosity!
  • At the Sign of Peace, please nod or bow to your neighbours rather than shaking hands.
  • If you suddenly feel sick during the Mass, please leave the church for the safety of all parishioners. If you were to learn that you or a member of your household has tested positive for COVID-19 within 14 days of attending Mass here at St. Gabriel’s, please contact our local public health agency and also the parish office. We will protect your identity, except in conversation with public health officers to stop the spread of the virus.
  • At Holy Communion, we ask that you follow direction of the ushers. You can use the lines on the floor to maintain physical distancing. Please stop at the mark that is six feet (two metres) from the priest or Eucharistic Minister.
  • If you are receiving the Eucharist, when you have stopped at the six-foot (two-metre) spot, the priest or Minister will say “The Body of Christ” and you will reply “Amen”. With your mask on, approach the priest or Minister and receive the Eucharist in your hand only. Move to the spot marked on the floor to your left or right, remove your mask and consume the Eucharist. Then put the mask back on your face and return to your pew.
  • If you are receiving a blessing only, please cross your arms and receive the blessing from the original six foot (2 metre) spot and then return to your seat.
  • After extensive consultation with medical professionals specializing in pandemic management, Cardinal Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, has decided that Holy Communion on the tongue will be temporarily suspended to stop the spread of the virus. We will return to this practice, for those who wish to receive in this way as soon as we are safely able to do so.
  • We will not distribute the Precious Blood at weekday masses.
  • At the end of Mass, we ask you to promptly leave the church, while maintaining six feet or two metres of physical distancing where possible. Please follow the instructions of the ushers. When everyone has left, cleaning volunteers will close the church doors so they can ensure this sacred space is thoroughly sanitized before the next Mass. They need as much time as possible to do this job properly.
  • To reduce the amount of cleaning required we ask you to please refrain from venerating or touching the church’s statues and the tabernacle.
  • All other Mass events and programs are cancelled at this time. We hope that these chances to meet with one another can resume when it is safe to do so.
  • And thank you for returning to our parish! The recent months have been difficult for all of us, so we hope this celebration of the Eucharist was a comforting and uplifting sacred experience. As Catholics, the Mass is the source and summit of our life in Christ. We thank God that we could celebrate this Mass here – with you – again today. Have a wonderful day! After months away from our parish, these temporary measures allow us to celebrate together once again in a way that we can protect one another. We thank you for your understanding and cooperation. It is great to see you all once again.