UPDATED JULY 9, 2021:
Bishop Mark Hagemoen released updated directives to the diocese July 9, for celebration of sacraments and for public worship in Roman Catholic churches in the diocese after the lifting of public health restrictions by the government of Saskatchewan on July 11.
July 9, 2021:
LIFTING OF PUBLIC HEALTH RESTRICTIONS & DIRECTIVES FOR SACRAMENTS IN COVID-19
Dear Pastors, Parishes, Parish Life Directors, and Faithful of the Diocese of Saskatoon:
I am pleased to provide this update to the diocese related to the Government of Saskatchewan’s plan to remove all Public Health Orders in place due to the Covid19 pandemic, after a very long and challenging time.
The general dispensation to the faithful from the obligation to attend Mass continues to remain in effect. However, those who are not elderly or health compromised are strongly encouraged to make the Sunday and holy days of obligation.
Profound gratitude is again expressed to all who persevered in faith and charity during these times of challenge offering the Sacraments, ministry, and support in the many creative ways you have reached out to your people.
Effective July 11, 2021, please note the following:
- Parishes will no longer have a restriction on capacity or be obliged to have parishioners sign up or register and contact tracing is not required.
- Masks are not required, with the exception of Paragraph 14 below for the distribution of Communion. Individuals may choose to wear a mask at their own discretion and in consideration of others.
- Baptisms can resume as they were pre-pandemic. Clergy may choose to mask and are asked to respect the wishes of the parents with regard to masking for baptisms.
- The delegation to all pastors/administrators to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation for those baptized Catholic as infants or children whose Confirmation was postponed due to the pandemic has ended.
- Confessionals may again be used and alternative locations or arrangements may continue.
- Holy water fonts may again be filled.
- Hand sanitizer and/or alternate sanitizing options should be available throughout the church.
- Appropriate cleaning of high use areas within the church is still encouraged before and after each service.
- All hymnals and missalettes may be returned to the pews. Single-use materials can still be considered.
- Families are not required to maintain distance between their family and other families or individuals throughout the celebration of Mass.
- The procession at the Preparation of the Gifts may resume. Pastors may choose to have collection baskets (or any other materials) stationary and not to be passed from one family to another, however, the use or passing of the offertory basket is not prohibited.
- The Sign of Peace should continue to be omitted or done with a simple gesture, such as a reverent bow to avoid physical contact.
- Mass may be celebrated with the participation of altar servers.
- The priest, and Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist, must wear a mask and must sanitize his hands immediately before and after distributing Communion. Physical contact should be avoided when placing the host in the communicant’s hands. Sanitize intermittently as necessary.
- Distribution of the Holy Communion (Blood of Christ) from the chalice should continue to be omitted to the assembly. For those who are gluten intolerant, special arrangements are to be made with the pastor.
- Those who choose to receive on the tongue should continue to be the last to receive.
- Celebrations and ancillary events may resume as usual and food and drink may be served.
- The standard pre‐pandemic fire, health, privacy, and labour codes remain in effect.
Again, I thank pastors, parish communities and the faithful of the Diocese of Saskatoon for their patience and consideration throughout this time and for their support as we come out of the pandemic and move towards regular worship and parish activities.
Sincerely in Christ.
Most Reverend Mark A. Hagemoen