Cardinal Collins – A Place to Worship Campaign & Outdoor Liturgies

As communicated last week, the provincial government released its “Roadmap to Reopen” on May 20, 2021. In summary, places of worship are restricted to a 10 person maximum until Step 2, expected in early July 2021, with the exception of outdoor services that are permitted in Step 1. In a meeting with the Premier’s office, I made very clear our dissatisfaction regarding the hard cap of 10 in light of the fact that non-essential retailers will be permitted to open at 15% capacity as of Step 1 (expected mid-June) and 25% capacity for Step 2.

In March of this year, many of you wrote or encouraged your parishioners/colleagues to participate in the “A Place to Worship” campaign, when we found ourselves in a similar situation. A simple website helps to facilitate a message to Premier Ford and local Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP).

If, by the end of this week, there are no changes relating to places of worship in the “Roadmap to Reopen”, we will, once again, ask parishioners to connect with their MPP as part of a new campaign. Additional details regarding the logistics as well as appropriate communication will be shared with you shortly. Many faith communities from throughout the province have expressed an interest in participating in this initiative.

We have also received numerous inquiries regarding the possibility of outdoor Masses at parishes in the archdiocese, as is permitted by the provincial government in Step 1. We are in the process of preparing recommendations regarding outdoor liturgies. If the province chooses not to make changes to current restrictions, guidance regarding outdoor Masses will be provided to parishes by June 1, 2021.

I recognize the fluid nature of the situation and once again, appreciate your patience as we advocate for places of worship and prepare plans for the days ahead. We will continue to keep you updated with the latest information. Be assured of my ongoing gratitude and prayers.

Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.

Sincerely in Christ,
Thomas Cardinal Collins
Archbishop of Toronto