We are now offering in-person Masses at Saint Benedict Parish, although it will be a very different experience than what you may be used to when you came to Mass before the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to do our best to balance our parishioners’ spiritual health and their physical health, which is why we want to proceed with caution. To help explain our new reality, Fr. Simon Lobo, our pastor, has written a letter, which you can read here.
One important note: as the gathering size restrictions limit the number of people we can welcome at Mass, and because we want to continue to increase and encourage our online members, our main online Mass will continue to be streamed at 9am Atlantic on Sunday mornings. You can continue to join us online for the same prayerful Mass you're used to!
Given current gathering size restrictions, we can’t celebrate enough Masses to accommodate all our members, we are using a sign-up form for Mass. Before filling it out, we encourage you to read the rest of this page, as well as the Archdiocese’s guidelines (which you can read here).
Even though Nova Scotia has had a number of restrictions lifted by our provincial government, the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing, and we need to take a number of precautions to ensure everyone’s safety at the church. Despite these steps, we cannot guarantee that no one will become infected by the virus. If you are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, we encourage you to stay home. We will do our best to offset the chance of that happening by continuing to take part in physical distancing (staying 2 metres away from other people).
As of July 31st, the province has made it mandatory to wear a mask in indoor public places, including church. We will continue to have masks on hand if you do not have one. You may notice during Mass that certain people will not have masks on at certain times, like the presider during Mass, lectors, and cantors. This is being done in accordance with our Archdiocese’s updated guidelines.
One specific note on masks: we strongly encourage wearing a mask with straps around the ears, instead of around the neck, as removing your mask from your face for Communion can result in contaminating people around you.
The best way to help you understand what to expect when coming to Mass is by taking you on a walkthrough of your experience. Let’s get started:
You will need to register for Mass ahead of time through our website (see the section ‘Sign Up’). We will not be able to accommodate anyone who hasn’t registered ahead of time. Please plan to arrive at the parish at the time that is indicated when you registered.
If you are driving to the church, we encourage you to park away from other cars, as much as possible. This will help us to maintain physical distancing from the moment you arrive on site to when you depart after Mass.
There will likely be a line outside the doors of the church as you wait to register. Please remain 2 metres apart from anyone outside your household as you wait.
When you enter the church (using only the main wooden doors marked ‘enter’), you are required to wear a mask, and you will confirm your registration with the table in foyer. This is so we can track who is coming in and out of the church, and help with the process of contact tracing in the event that there is an outbreak of COVID-19.
After registering, you’ll be brought to your seat in a designated pew. You’ll be asked to remain in your pew for the duration of Mass, so as to limit the number of people moving around the building. To ensure phyiscal distancing, the Archdiocese has asked that people not sit on the ends of the pews. Also, we ask that you not use the bathroom facilities, except in the event of an emergency.
The priest will begin Mass by processing from the sacristy behind the altar, so as to limit physical contact with the congregation.
There will be no music at Mass, as singing provides a significant opportunity for particles to be projected from your mouth.
After the Gospel, the celebrant may preach a shortened homily. The full homily will be available online after the 9am Sunday Mass is streamed.
When it comes time for Communion, stay in your pew and a minister will come to you to distribute Communion. Public health authorities have strongly encouraged that we only distribute Communion in the hand. Communion on the tongue can return after the pandemic. Those receiving Communion are instructed to remove their masks from one ear and while the person ahead of them is receiving Holy Communion, so as to avoid any opportunity of contamination. You are encouraged to bring and use your own hand sanitizer prior to receiving Communion. (Please note that Communion to the Homebound is suspended at this time, as per the Archdiocese’s guidelines.)
At the end of Mass, the priest will process directly to the sacristy, to avoid potential transmission of the virus.
After Mass, you’ll be dismissed row-by-row, so please wait until you are dismissed before departing. As you exit the church, there will be a basket for your collection offering. You can also visit saintbenedict.ca/give if you’d like to use a contactless option.
As you exit, you are asked to proceed straight to your vehicle or to the sidewalk, as we aren’t able to socialize in the foyer after Mass at this time.
As you can imagine, this is a very different experience of Mass than you may be used to. These changes are intended to help us strike the balance between spiritual health and physical health. Thank you, and we look forward to praying with you again.
Currently, we're not able to offer Children’s Ministry at our in-person Masses. If you are planning to bring a child to Mass during this time, please note that they are not able to leave the pew during Mass, and bathrooms are only to be used in the case of an emergency.