Catholic masses across the archdiocese will no longer be held in front of public congregations, beginning March 21. The decision applies to all other parish activities and celebrations as well, according to a directive from the Archdiocese of Vancouver, which covers the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley.
Previously, masses were limited to the first 50 parishioners in response to provincial health regulations aimed to stopping the spread of COVID-19.
“After further 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; and in keeping with the regulations of the other Dioceses of British Columbia; 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,” Archbishop J. Michael Miller said in a letter to Catholics March 20.
Parishioners will, however, be able to watch mass online, as a number of parishes in the archdiocese offer streaming video of their services.
Information about those services and other resources that are currently available can be found HERE.
Miller added that, wherever possible — when the health and safety of the community can be “scrupulously” addressed — churches may remain open for private prayer.
But for the good of the wider community, seniors and those with serious medical conditions, are “strongly urged” to stay and pray at home.