Ontario Bishops Decide to Suspend Sunday Services

Move comes as province encourages greater social distancing

Posted March 13, 2020


Bishop Susan Bell, on the advice of the provincial metropolitan, has decided to temporarily suspend all Sunday worship services, effective Sunday, March 15.

"While the congregational worship of our Lord and Saviour is a foundational component of our faith," writes Bishop Bell in her latest pastoral letter, "we feel that it is imperative we take this extraordinary measure, consistent with the measures of other institutions within our province, to slow the capacity of this coronavirus to be transmitted through our communities." 

The decision comes after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 to be a global pandemic and several cases have now been confirmed within the diocese's boundaries. 

On Sunday, Bishop Bell will lead a live-streamed time of prayer, complete with a brief homily, beginning at 10AM on the diocesan Facebook page.

Earlier this week, Bishop Bell made the decision to suspend the sharing of the common cup at celebrations of the Eucharist, out of an abundance of caution, and in keeping with the Church’s longstanding teaching that it is sufficient to receive communion in one kind.

To reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses, including coronaviruses, the Ministry of Health continues to advise Ontario residents to wash their hands often, avoid contact with people who are sick, and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette.

Bishop Susan also asks prayers for all who are ill with this virus, for their caregivers, and for healthcare workers and researchers working to limit the virus’ spread. 

Diocesan leaders will continue to monitor the situation closely and encourage parish leaders to regularly visit the diocese's online COVID-19 resource hub.

For more information related to COVID-19, please visit the Public Health Agency of Canada's website.