OTTAWA -- The Archdiocese of Ottawa has cancelled all masses at churches this weekend.

In a letter, Archbishop Terrence Prendergast says the decision to cancel all public Lord’s Day Masses in the Archdiocese of Ottawa follows the directive from Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer to cancel any gatherings larger than 250 people to limit the spread of COVID-19.

“Realizing that a number of parishes will have difficulty in keeping Mass attendance below 250 this weekend, I have regrettably decided to ask our Catholic parishes to cancel all public Lord’s Day Masses.”

All masses in Catholic parishes will be cancelled March 14 and March 15. Daily masses will continue as scheduled next week.

“After the weekend, we will assess this decision for next weekend and any other that is required after consulting health officials,” wrote Archbishop Prendergast.

Churches are asked to remain open for private prayer and Eucharistic Adoration.

Earlier this month, the Archdiocese of Ottawa announced a number of measures to address fears about COVID-19 and its potential spread, including:

  • Disinfectants available at every entrance
  • Parishioners asked to refrain from shaking hands during the Greeting of Peace
  • Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion should not receive the Precious Blood prior to the distribution of Communion
  • Communion from the chaliace will be restricted to bishops and priests

Anyone who is feeling sick is asked to stay home.

Archbishop Prendergast writes “for this weekend and any other which may be required, I grant the faithful dispensation from their Sunday obligation to attend Mass.”