Catholic churches going ahead with Holy Week masses despite empty pews
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Sunday, April 5, 2020 10:25AM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, April 5, 2020 6:12PM EDT
The more than 200 Catholic churches across Toronto will still be delivering Holy Week masses but they will be doing so with empty pews.
The Archdioceses of Toronto says that its Holy Week services typically attract “hundreds of thousands” of parishioners but this year churches are shuttered in compliance with a provincial order prohibiting organized gatherings of more than five people, forcing church leaders to get creative to find ways to still deliver the services.
“We are going to make as many services as possible available online and we are doing the best we can,” Archdioceses of Toronto Neil McCarthy told CP24. “Many of our 225 parishes are also streaming services on Facebook, YouTube and other social media sites so people are being very creative given the difficult times.”
Today is Palm Sunday, which usually serves as the kickoff to the Easter holidays in the Catholic church.
McCarthy said that Cardinal Thomas Collins will still deliver two Palm Sunday services inside the cavernous St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica but will do so without any members of the public in attendance.
Instead, McCarthy said that those services, along with others planned by Collins this week, will be livestreamed on the archdiocese website.
McCarthy said that he has also heard from priests who are individually calling parishioners just to “stay connected with them” and “make the best out of a very bad situation.”
Others, he said have volunteers dropping off missals to parishioners so that they can more easily follow along at home.
“Obviously people want to come to the church and they are so accustomed coming to the church, especially this week and this time of year but we want to make sure we are not violating any of the local ordinances that have come from the federal, provincial and local governments,” he said. “This is a way to come together as a family as best as we can given the trying circumstances.”