Your browser version is outdated. We recommend that you update your browser to the latest version.

This website is being redesigned.  In the interim, only the Home page will be updated.  

OFFICE OF THE BISHOP

P.O. Box 907, CHARLOTTETOWN, PE C1A 7L9

A Pastoral Letter to the People of the Diocese - June 8, 2020

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Peace and grace of our loving God be with you!


These past few months have been difficult for all of us. I share your heartache that we have not been able to gather for Sunday Eucharist. The recent approval to come together for weekday Eucharistic celebration limited to 15 people is only marginally helpful. I want you to know I have laboured hard to seek agreement to re-open our churches for fuller participation especially on Sundays.

Over the past month and a half, I have communicated with the Chief Public Health Officer and/or her deputy, as well as writing to the Premier. I have prepared a detailed Safety Protocol to ensure that we could come together in a safe manner. I have advocated that we be allowed to gather for Sunday worship up to a maximum of 30% capacity of our churches. Unfortunately, despite the Public Health Office acknowledging that our Protocol was the “most rigorous” of those received, the dialogue with the province has not been fruitful. Public Health Officials seem determined to impose a fixed number (50) as an upper limit in Phase 4 . For small churches fifty in attendance may be adequate but not for larger churches such as St. Mary’s, Souris, St. Simon and Jude, Tignish, St. Paul’s, Summerside and all the churches in Charlottetown.

My experience in trying to present a realistic approach to Sunday worship, during the “new normal”, leads me to question just how important a person’s faith is seen by the government officials. Is it as important as economic opportunity i.e. re-opening restaurants? Is it as important as re-opening sporting activities and barber shops? Is it as important as opening our borders to seasonal dwellers?
The truth is, as you know, that our faith and the ability to actively celebrate it has significant implications for emotional and psychological well-being. Stated simply celebrating faith together has health benefits! Mandating that faith communities gather in relatively small numbers is divisive. That is, it divides a community, forcing the doors of the church to be closed to many more than are able to enter. This does not strike me as just or reasonable.

If assemblies of worship are able to adhere to Health directives (of sanitizing, social distancing, no clustering of people coming and going, and minimizing any physical contact in receiving Communion etc.) why is it untenable that faith communities be able to function in numbers that are communally acceptable? I am confident that parishes can meet the health standards with 30% in attendance; and all the while collecting personal data from participants to facilitate effective tracking and tracing.

I want to assert that faith communities have a right to function, and to function well. I want to protect our people and keep them safe as much as the Public Health Officials. Yet I believe that the Province of Prince Edward Island, given its unique situation in controlling Covid-19, needs to be more open and understanding of faith communities of all types who long to gather for worship in their churches.

 

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+ Bishop Richard Grecco

 


 

OFFICE OF THE BISHOP

P.O. Box 907, CHARLOTTETOWN, PE C1A 7L9

Protocol for Catholic Churches (25 May 2020) Beginning June 1, 2020 - Funerals & Rites with 15 people

Introduction

The Churches and chapels in the Diocese shall take every means necessary to assist in the containment of the Covid 19 virus. To this end, the Diocese has prepared and discussed a draft Protocol with the Public Health Office of PEI for the reopening of Churches for Sunday Mass. The date to re-open Churches for Sunday Mass has not yet been announced. However, beginning Monday June 1 Renew PEI Stage Three, allows for indoor gatherings of 15. Therefore, I am delegating parish priests to implement this Protocol for Phase Three. Be advised that changes to this Protocol may be required when Sunday Masses will be restored by the Public Health Department.

This Protocol shall appear at the entrance to the Church or in the foyer or both. Posting a copy on the parish website is recommended. A copy shall be posted on the Diocesan website.

Physical distancing and sanitizing

Churches and chapels shall restrict seating to every third pew. Parish priests shall ensure that the two pews in front and behind seated parishioners will be cordoned off at the aisle. This establishes the required 6’ distance in front and behind congregants.

Families from the same household may sit together in a single pew. The 6’ physical spacing applies within each available pew; that is, individuals must sit 6’ feet apart. Only family/household (as above) may sit together

No choir may gather in Church due to physical distancing. One cantor with instrumental accompaniment may lead congregational singing.

All songbooks, hymnals and missals shall be removed from the pews and entrance of the Church.

After every ceremony, places of contact such as pews, door knobs, handles and washroom facilities shall be sanitized.

If possible, prop the entrance door open so that people do not have to touch the doorknob or surface.

Priests shall consider measures to shorten the length of the Mass because the time spent in proximity to other persons increases the risk of transmission; for example, announcements can be kept brief or eliminated; cantors may delete verses of a song; select the shorter versions of the readings if the option is presented; preach a brief homily; limit the number of general intercessions and keep each brief.

Ceremonial Adaptations for Covid19

Altar servers shall remain 6’ apart in the sacristy and during Mass. For entrance and recessional processions servers, ministers and presider shall form a single file respecting the 6’distance. Servers shall NOT hold the book for the Presiders and shall NOT present the wine and water or perform the Lavabo. For the presidential prayers, place the Roman Missal on the altar or on a stand at the chair. The cruets are to be placed in proximity to the altar for access by the priest. Lavabo is done by the priest alone.

There shall be no water in the holy water font.

Children’s liturgy of the word shall be cancelled.

Crying rooms shall be closed or locked.

The Offertory Procession shall be omitted.

The Presider shall not invite an exchange of Sign of Peace.

A second corporal shall be placed on the far right corner of the altar. On it shall be placed a ciborium (and if necessary a second for celiacs) filled with the bread for communicants. This exercise avoids having the presider breathing or possibly coughing over the bread for communicants. . The Priest’s corporal and paten with host are as usual.

No extraordinary minister shall distribute communion. (This is likely to change once permission is given for Sunday Masses.)

Distribution of Holy Communion:

i) A single file of communicants to the sanctuary shall respect the 6’ distance requirement and where possible their return to their pew should proceed by a different aisle.

ii) The priest shall wash/ disinfect his hands before and after distribution of communion. This can be done at the credence table or other suitable space visible to the congregation. This is in addition to washing his hands thoroughly before the Mass.

iii) Due to the higher risk of transmission there shall be no distribution on the tongue;

iv) Before distribution, communicants shall be asked to remove their gloves and mask.

v) Before distribution communicants will be asked to stop six feet in front of the priest so that he may say “Body of Christ”. The communicant responds “Amen” and bows, then steps forward to receive communion on the hand.

vi) Holy communion shall be placed at arm’s length (X2) onto the hand of the communicant.

vii) Those who present themselves or their child for a blessing may be blessed by the priest when they stop to bow at a distance of 6’.

Immediately before the recessional the congregation shall be reminded to maintain 6’ spacing as they leave the Church and to avoid gathering at the back of the Church. Perhaps ushers may assist parishioners to exit by row in single file.

Priests may meet people outdoors where physical distancing can be maintained. This also prevents crowding at the exits.

The Presider and other ministers shall NOT wear masks or gloves during the celebration of Mass and must remain at least six feet distant from one another and the members of the congregation.

 


 

Bishop’s Letter to Priests 

 

May 14, 2020

 

Dear Father,


Dr. Heather Morrison’s Office has responded to our submission of a draft Protocol for Sunday Masses. The Public Health Office currently is reviewing it and will contact the Diocese to discuss and advise recommendations. A timeline for returning to Sunday Mass has not been mentioned.


When Sunday Mass and the Sacraments resume, we will be entering what has been called “the new normal”. This means that for the sake of safety our Sunday Assemblies will look different; as well, our usual social patterns in Church will change.


Social distancing, sanitizing surfaces and effectively communicating the meaning of the Protocol to parishioners will all be a part of “the new normal”. In particular, Fathers, you will have the responsibility to ensure that the Protocol is implemented and followed. We must be vigilant to keep our parishioners and communities as safe as possible. The Protocol will help to convince our people that a return to the Eucharist is safe for them, their families and the community.


Waiting for the day when Sunday Mass resumes, reflects the mood of the season of Advent; waiting expectantly for God’s blessings. So let’s not wait ineffectively; let’s pray that we will enter the ‘new normal’ prepared and determined to prevent an outbreak or spreading of the virus.


Again Fathers I extend to you my gratitude for your faithful service during these difficult days. I am encouraged by the creative means of outreach you have taken to serve the people of your parishes and I commend the efforts made to continue celebrating the sacraments such as Confession and Anointing. Your extensive efforts to live-stream the Mass has helped many people to connect with the liturgical season, the Word and their prayer life. Thank you.

 

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Bishop Richard Grecco

 


 

Bishop’s Pastoral Letter: Holy Week in Times of Covid-19

April 1, 2020

 

Dear People of the Diocese of Charlottetown,

We are living in trying times.  We have never experienced a crisis of global proportion, a pandemic.  We have altered drastically our daily lives, our work habits, our social activities including our Sunday services,  to promote public health and to protect our loved ones and our community.

The Parish Churches of the Diocese of Charlottetown continue offering daily Mass for you so that collectively we remain strong and determined to support each other throughout these many difficult days.  Despite the absence of parishioners at Mass the priests know that many parishioners join them through their own personal prayers and family devotions.  

Many of the Parish Priests in Prince Edward Island have the technical savvy to live-stream daily and Sunday Masses. People in all three Counties can follow these live-streamed Masses; in Summerside, St. Paul’s Church; in Wellington, Immaculate Conception; in Bloomfield, St. Anthony; in Tignish St. Simon and Jude, in Morell, St. Teresa, and in Charlottetown, St. Pius X.  Currently there are four more parishes preparing to live-stream the Mass. 

As well, in Charlottetown, and across the Island you can find Sunday Mass on your cable TV.  Sunday mass at Holy Redeemer is televised at 9AM on Eastlink Community TV.   On behalf of the Diocese of Charlottetown a very special thanks to the management and people at Eastlink Community TV for making their services available during this difficult time.

In addition to social media outreach, mentioned above, the Diocese encourages the following:

  • On Good Friday at 9:00 a.m.  Eastlink Community TV will televise the Scriptural Way of the Cross. Parishes that live-stream likely will offer Good Friday service as well.
  • The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) is available for individuals at Parish Churches /Pastoral Unit.  Again this encounter shall adhere to proper social distancing as requested by public health.
  • On Easter Sunday at 12 o’clock noon, I am asking all Catholic Parishes in PEI to ring the Church bells for sixty seconds or more to celebrate the glory of Jesus’ Resurrection and His invitation to us to follow Him.  When the bells are ringing, I invite all the faithful across PEI to pray the Lord’s Prayer. In Solidarity may our united, prayerful voices help us rise above this crisis and one day rise with Christ to eternal life.

These days have given us the time to steel our will to overcome the difficulties we face. Easter Sunday celebrates a promise full of hope.   We rely, as always, on God’s grace for the strength and hope that will get us through this crisis together.    

Sincerely,

+ Bishop Richard Grecco

 

 


 

 March 21, 2020

 Message from our Pastor:  Fr. Brian R. MacDougall, VG. 

Re: Covid 19

 

Since Tuesday March 17, 2020 when we received word that all public Masses would be cancelled until further notice due to the outbreak of Covid 19, we have been sailing in uncharted waters. None of us remember having to go through anything like this before where public gatherings and celebrations are not permitted in order to prevent the spread of this virus.

As Christians we are called to be good citizens and to cooperate with the health authorities in the interest of public safety and health.

I was particularly struck by Bishop Grecco’s words in his letter of March 17, 2020. He said:

The cessation of the public celebration of the Eucharist and the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass is a source of ‘spiritual heartache’ for the Catholic Church in PEI”.

In this unprecedented time let us turn to God in prayer, focusing the eyes of our faith upon Jesus with faith and trust. Whenever the disciples were afraid Jesus always assured them of his love and presence.

In John’s Gospel (Jn. 6:16-21) Jesus is seen walking upon the water towards the apostles who were in a boat rowing in rough seas. They are afraid because they think he is a ghost. But Jesus calms their fears with these reassuring words: “It is I; do not be afraid” (vs. 20). He speaks those same words of comfort and hope to each one of us in our present circumstances.

Therefore, let us pray for one another, for those who are suffering from the virus, and for the repose of the souls of all who have died from it. Rest assured, that I remember you all and your intentions in the (private) celebration of the Holy Mass.

Pax et Bonum

Fr. Brian R. MacDougall, VG.
Pastor

 


 

Letter from Bishop Richard Grecco, March 19, 2020

Dear Father,

As I said in my letter of March 17, 2020 the cessation of the public celebration of the Eucharist and the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass is a source of “spiritual heartache” for the Catholic Church in PEI. At this unprecedented moment we priests are given the opportunity to examine our efforts at accompanying the faithful on their Lenten journey.

Accompaniment by Offering Mass Privately

Our ministry should seek to soothe the broken hearted with encouragement, kindness and the assurance of prayer as we endure this dreaded affliction. This includes the explicit intention in your private masses, especially the “missa pro popolo” “mass for the people” in your parish. In the midst of the current health crisis the Eucharist continues to sustain the Church. It is our responsibility as “ambassadors for Christ”(2Cor. 5:20) and in persona Christi, as mediators between God and humankind (1Tm.2; 5-7) to offer Mass privately with the intention of strengthening the faith of our people, and alleviating the suffering of victims around the world.

Accompaniment to Enable Prayer and Devotion

We can communicate to our people the importance of our Lenten spiritual exercises of prayer, almsgiving and fasting through postings on our parish web and Church bulletin board and Church foyer. We should leave our Church doors open to encourage people to visit the Blessed Sacrament and spend some time in silent adoration. We may make available at the doors of the church copies of the Stations of the Cross. Given the dimensions of this crisis the Stations seem most relevant. (It is important that such devotions be done privately and not organized by groups as this is contrary to Health Department Guidelines.) Also do encourage people to watch Sunday Mass at 9am from Holy Redeemer on Eastlink Community TV or Fr. Frank Jay’s Sunday Mass which he live streams on Facebook. Finally, encourage people to reserve some silent time for contemplation, to pray the rosary and to read the Sacred Scriptures.

Our hope is in the Lord. By being active, spiritually strong and prayerful we do accompany and enable the faithful to persevere during this health crisis.

I conclude by sharing with you St. Paul’s message to his Pastoral Associate, Timothy:

“As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry.” 2Tm. 4:5

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+Bishop Richard Grecco


 

Further Church Restrictions on PEI

March 19, 2020

 

Dear Fathers,

Since my last update on COVID-19, the Department of Health has issued new orders. There are to be no funerals or memorial services or social gatherings. I ask all priests and parishes to comply with this order.

Since this directive was directed to funeral homes and not to churches or this diocese, I think it’s safest to extrapolate from this order that it also applies to church weddings and baptisms.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

+Richard Grecco

 

Holy Trinity Pastoral Unit Mass Times, Reconciliation and Ministry for Ordinary Time

 

Sunday:

Saturday Evening Anticipated Sunday Mass:  4:00pm St. Lawrence O'Toole

Sunday 9:00am St. Theresa the Little Flower; 11:00am St. Peters

 

Weekdays:

Mondays 9:00am St. Theresa the Little Flower

Tuesdays 9:00am St. Peters

Thursdays 9:00am St. Theresa the Little Flower

Fridays 9:00am St. Peters

Saturday 9:00am St. Theresa the Little Flower

 

First Friday Mass: St. Peters 6:00pm

 

Reconciliation

St. Theresa the Little Flower 9:00-10:00am (following mass)

 

Rosary: 

St. Theresa the Little Flower before Saturday morning mass - 8:30am

 

Live Streaming

The 9:00am Sunday Mass will be Live Streamed.  Go to  https://www.facebook.com/pg/Holy-Trinity-Pastoral-Unit-PEI-103197078005559  

 

 

Pastoral Unit Contact Information

Pastor: Rev. Brian MacDougall

Pastoral Office:  Phone: 902 961-2265  Fax 902 961-3394

Email: sttheresa@eastlink.ca

Address: PO Box 83, Morell, Prince Edward Island C0A 1S0