Archbishop J. Michael Miller Friday announced Masses will no longer be offered with a public congregation in the Archdiocese of Vancouver, joining dioceses across British Columbia and Canada that have made the same decision.
In a statement Friday afternoon, the archbishop said, “I direct that all Masses, whether Sunday or weekday, beginning on Saturday, March 21, are to be offered without a public congregation, until further notice.”
The decision also applies to other parish activities and celebrations, such as Stations of the Cross.
Friday’s decision, he said, was made after “prayerful consideration; and after no small amount of sadness; and after hearing from senior pastors and others about the need for a single directive for the entire Archdiocese.”
The archbishop said churches can remain open for private prayer and adoration “whenever the health and safety of the community can be scrupulously attended to,” although he asked seniors and those with serious medical conditions to remain at home and pray.
The archbishop said “this unprecedented decision was not taken lightly. It follows from the Lord’s commandment that we love one another as he has loved us. In this trying time, this means that we must ensure the health and safety of our community by following the directives of our provincial and national health authorities.”
He said he recognized “the great sacrifice involved for those who are unable to receive the Eucharist, particularly during this time of suffering,” and invited people to “deepen their relationship to the Lord by uniting themselves to his Passion.
Archbishop Miller announced Friday that all Masses in the Archdiocese of Vancouver will be offered without a public congregation. (Garvan Yeung photo)