NS Delays Move to Phase 5 of Reopening – September 16th
Masks, social distancing, contact tracing and gathering limits remain in place for the time being. Phase 5 has been delayed until at least October 4th. If interested, keep reading.
On Wednesday, September 8th, the provincial government and health authorities very confidently announced that we would be moving into Phase 5 of our reopening plan on September 15th. Phase 5 introduces significant changes for the province (no more gathering limits, no more contact tracing). We were thrilled, as this came as a bit of a surprise considering things happening around the rest of the country. But then, at their press conference on September 14th (and after a few days of climbing numbers of COVID cases) they announced that Phase 5 would be delayed after all (until at least October 4th).
So, back into planning and troubleshooting mode we went! One of the major changes we had announced with the coming of Phase 5 was the removal of the requirement to preregister to attend Mass on Sunday. Our space and our numbers make it challenging for us to safely accommodate all who would like to attend Mass in-person on the weekends. Preregistration and assigning seats allow us to closely achieve 50% capacity of our building (which is what is allowed in Phase 4). Assigned seating for Mass is a fairly laborious process (like hosting three wedding receptions per weekend!) and it takes several hours every week to do this.
With the quick turnaround time of the announcement that Phase 5 is delayed, we are going to do things a bit differently for Sunday Masses. We’ve reintroduced preregistration for our two closing Masses (as we want to ensure the maximum number of people who want to attend are able to) but are going to move to a ‘first come, first serve’ model for our other weekend Masses (Saturdays at 4:30, Sundays at 9:00 and 11:15). We will have signs on the pews to assist with seating arrangements as well as ushers helping to provide some guidance. We will ask people to provide a name and phone number upon arrival for contact tracing purposes, COVID screening questions will continue and masks remain mandatory.
We ask for your patience and understanding as we change course once again. Thanks to all who continue to serve in ministries that allow us to celebrate Mass in-person on the weekends. Thanks to all who serve to allow us the option to celebrate Mass online (Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 9am). Let’s continue to pray for one another during this season of transition.
Update on New Parishes, Stronger Together Proposal
On Sunday, June 27th Fr. Bryan announced that we are moving forward with the proposal to permanently close St. Francis of Assisi and St. Elizabeth Seton churches. Please visit this page for more information on next steps. And please pray for our community during this time of transition.
Updates on NS Reopening Planning – June 18th
At their COVID-19 debrief on Tuesday, the provincial government announced that we would move into phase 2 (of 5) on Wednesday, June 16th. One unanticipated change that we’re excited about is an increase in the number of people allowed to gather for in-person Mass. Originally phase 2 was limited to 10, but after the press briefing we received word that they had increased the allowance to 50.
The staff and volunteers who work both behind the scenes and more visibly, to make the celebration of Mass possible (both online and in-person) have been working hard in their various areas to help us all to be able to continue to celebrate Mass as a community.
In a particular way, the volunteers serving on in-person teams for both the weekend and weekday Masses are busy preparing to welcome us back as the phases allow. As it stands now, phase 2 (with the new, 50-person limit) is scheduled to last until June 29th.
Phase 3 is tentatively scheduled to begin on Wednesday, June 30th. Right now Phase 3 increases our in-person allowance for Mass from 50 to 100. The government has said that the proposed dates for the phases are subject to change as well as the restrictions in place for each phase, so we are doing our best to plan with these realities in mind. We remain grateful for all the people serving in a variety of ministries, on teams and councils who continue to serve our parish and our community during these very challenging times.
The safety measures we had in place before this latest lockdown remain in place for phases 2 and 3 of the reopening plan. They include:
- a requirement to preregister for attendance for weekend Masses (for contact tracing and planning purposes);
- COVID-19 screening questions;
- temperature taking and hand sanitizing;
- masks and social distancing when indoors remain as requirements.
What else is new during this period of reopening?
- Check out our Mass times page for updates on Mass schedules and to preregister for Sunday Mass when it becomes available.
- To inquire about baptisms, weddings, funerals or confession, please contact the parish office (not yet open for walk-ins, but scheduling appointments for weekday mornings from Tuesday through Friday). This page has updates on parish office hours.
- The next issue of First 5 will go out on Tuesday, June 29th, in hopes of having much to communicate about a move to Phase 3 of reopening.
Finally, here is a brief visual timeline:
Pandemic Restrictions Extended into June
Premier Iain Rankin and Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, announced on Wednesday, May 19th that our current public health restrictions will remain in place across the province until at least the second week of June. This means we will continue to celebrate Mass online, the parish office is closed to regular traffic and staff are working from home. We continue to pray for the health and wellbeing of all Nova Scotians and particularly those most impacted by this worldwide pandemic.
Restrictions Extended for Month of May
Dr. Strang and the Nova Scotia Government have extended the current COVID-19 restrictions for the month of May. This means we will continue to celebrate Mass online (Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 9am) and the parish office will remain closed as we do our part to encourage people to limit their movements and contacts.
Pope Francis invites Catholics around the world to take part in a global prayer initiative. The faithful are invited to pray the rosary every day in May to seek Mary’s intercession to end the global pandemic. Thirty Marian shrines from various parts of the world will host a livestreamed recitation of the rosary.
The prayer marathon takes on the theme: “The whole Church was fervently praying to God,” which recalls a verse in the Book of Acts (12:5).
Also, the Vatican News will broadcast the recitation of the rosary at 6 PM Rome time (1:00pm Halifax time) from the various shrines taking part in the initiative. You can view this on the Vatican News YouTube channel by clicking here.
Updates to Restrictions – April 26th
As of this morning our whole province is under a lockdown order. In short, Premier Rankin and Dr. Strang are urging all Nova Scotia’s to stay home, do only what is essential, and do all that is within our power to keep one another safe.
In light of our current circumstances all parishes throughout the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth must abide by the following:
- NO faith gatherings and churches are closed to the public.
- Wedding and funeral ceremonies can happen with 5 people plus the officiant.
- Other sacraments including, baptisms, confirmation, and reconciliation are not permitted during this current strict lockdown period. However, individual confession can be heard under extenuating circumstances.
- NO in-person meetings or training sessions are to take place with the exception of mental health support groups.
- Virtual Masses can be held with a maximum of 5 people in one location. This includes liturgical and technical staff. Physical distancing and masking must be maintained.
New COVID-19 Restrictions – April 23rd
New pandemic restrictions were announced by Dr. Strang and the provincial government on April 22nd. As of 8am on Friday, April 23rd indoor gatherings are limited to five people and all Nova Scotians have been encouraged to stay home.
Due to these restrictions the following measures have been put in place:
- The parish office will be closed (meetings will move online, staff will work from home with access to email and voicemail);
- Mass will be celebrated via livestream only (YouTube Channel, Facebook Page);
- Sundays at 9am
- Wednesday at 9am
- Fridays at 9am
- Please note, we previously announced that there would be no weekday Masses April 26-30 due to the priests retreat, however, the retreat has been rescheduled for the first week of June so we will now have Mass online on Wednesday, April 28th and Friday, April 30th (both at 9am, followed by Adoration until 10:30am).
Here are a few more details from the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth on April 23rd:
To clarify how the lockdown and new limitations affect the parishes across the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth please see below.
For parishes within HRM the following take effect immediately:
- There can be no faith gatherings. Therefore, all churches are to be closed to the public effective today, April 23, 2021.
- Livestream Masses are permitted with the following limits:
No more than five persons including the presider, lector, server, cantor, or deacon in the sanctuary.
One to three persons to operate the technical equipment.
- Weddings and funerals are permitted with no more than five persons plus the presider in attendance. Wedding receptions or funeral visitations and receptions are not permitted.
- No baptisms are to be celebrated during the four- week lockdown period.
- Confirmations originally schedule during the lockdown period will be rescheduled.
- Social events, meetings, training sessions are not permitted.
Let’s keep our community in prayer as we help to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
CCCB Release Note on Ethical Concerns Re COVID-19 Vaccines – March 9th
Please click here to read a recently released note from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops on ethical concerns related to currently approved COVID-19 vaccines.
Latest on COVID-19 Restrictions
New pandemic restrictions were announced for our area on February 26th. The health authority shared that the expectation is that these current provisions will be in place until March 21st. We are not impacted too significantly, as we continue to maintain a limit of 100 people for Mass on Sundays. We are making plans to be able to celebrate the Triduum in-person (following guidelines provided by the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth) and will communicate details on this in the weeks ahead.
COVID-19 Restrictions Eased Beginning December 21st
On Wednesday, December 16th, Dr. Strang announced eased restrictions around the province starting next week (click here for a summary). The increase up to 100 for faith gatherings is wonderful, but unfortunately is not enough of an increase to allow us to accommodate our faith family at the two Masses planned for Christmas (scroll below for the schedule of events for the remainder of December). We also simply do not have enough time to put plans in place to make this work.
We will use this time (in addition to getting ready for Christmas) to prepare to mobilize all those who serve at our in-person Masses, get our online registration ready and administrative details in place for the celebration of The Baptism of the Lord (the weekend of January 10th).
New COVID-19 Restrictions
On Tuesday, November 24 Premier McNeil and Dr. Strang announced new COVID-19 restrictions. Most notably, the decrease of the gathering limit to five people means suspending in-person Masses for the time being (these restrictions have been extended until December 16th). Please join us on YouTube or Facebook to celebrate Sunday Mass together at 9am.
The new restrictions in place mean we have closed the parish office to the public and reduced the number of people at Mass to those directly serving to make it available (technical team, lectors, musicians and presiders). Voice and email messages continue to be monitored by staff and volunteers and regular meetings have moved online. Praying for all to stay safe during this second wave of the virus.
Parish Pastoral Plan – Visit from Archbishop Dunn November 1st
On the weekend of October 31st/November 1st, Archbishop Brian Dunn will join us for the celebration of all our Masses. He will be preaching and making an important announcement. In preparation for his visit, we invite everyone to re-watch the three Communications Series videos (below) on our Pastoral Plan presented last fall. Archbishop Dunn will be responding to some of the issues raised in those sessions. Don’t forget to that Wednesday is the deadline to sign up to attend Mass in person. Tune into our YouTube channel at 9am on Sunday for Mass online. Archbishop Dunn will also join us in the Digital Foyer on November 1st so we look forward to that.
Reopening Phases (updated July 31st)
With the lifting of certain pandemic restrictions in Nova Scotia, the Archdiocese of Halifax-Yarmouth is allowing parishes to reopen, provided all of the necessary health and safety protocols are in place. These directives are subject to change at any time, and without much advance warning.
We are taking a phased approach to reopening, in much the same way provinces and other organizations are proceeding. We will learn a lot in the first weeks and months, and we will work to eliminate any problems we may encounter.
Despite our best efforts, there will always be a risk of exposure to COVID-19 in attending Mass or another event at Holy Trinity Parish. We happily welcome back all who choose to come through our doors, and we will likewise treat with equal measure of respect those who, at this time, choose not to return to Mass in-person. Please also note that Archbishop Mancini continues to provide dispensation from the Sunday Mass for those who may not be able to attend for health reasons or due to capacity restrictions.
Here are the planned phases for reopening:
- PHASE 1
Facility is prepared and volunteers are trained. Video of what to expect when returning to in-person Mass is made available. Process to signup to attend in-person Mass is communicated. Anointing of the sick and reconciliation are available by appointment only.
- PHASE 2 (moved into this phase July 18th)
We will have three weekend Masses: Saturday at 4:30pm, Sunday at 9am (livestreamed) and Sunday at 11:15am. These are all at our SJV site. Anyone signing up to attend in-person Mass will receive confirmation of the Mass time and their assigned seat(s).
Update as of July 31st: On July 24th, the Province of Nova Scotia introduced new requirements to prevent the spread of COVID-19, to prevent a second wave and in an effort to set the groundwork to open the economy further. These requirements were clarified in a meeting with Dr. Strang on July 28th and a subsequent email on July 29. Up until now, we have been encouraged to wear a mask. Effective July 31st, non-medical masks are mandatory in indoor public spaces. This is in accordance with the most recent Public Health order. While in the church people must wear a mask. Masks should be worn to cover the mouth and nose. Face shields are not considered to be a substitute for masks. Hand sanitizing and physical distancing are still required. Exemptions for masks include those under the age of two and those who are medically exempt.
Baptisms, weddings and funerals are available by individual request only.
- PHASE 3
1-2 weekday Masses are open to parishioners.
- PHASE 4
Four weekday Masses are open to parishioners.
Please note that these phases aren’t linear. If protocols or restrictions change, it may require a move to a previous phase, or require a change in what is included in a phase.
July 3rd Letter from Fr. Bryan
Dear Parishioners of Holy Trinity,
Today we celebrate the Feast Day of Saint Thomas the Apostle who famously professed his faith in the divinity of Christ with the words “My Lord and my God!” These words have oft been repeated piously by Catholics at both the elevation of the Host and the Chalice at Mass, recognizing that Jesus is really, truly, and substantially present in the Eucharist. And so it’s fitting that on this Feast Day I can announce to you some of the working plan for reopening our parish, and to tell you that I am very much looking forward to welcoming you back in person around the Lord’s Table.
Since Archbishop Mancini announced that our parishes could re-open, our staff team has been working hard, thinking through all the logistical pieces as required by the Archdiocese for our health and safety, and developing and implementing action plans. Already we have had to make adjustments as gathering limits increased from 50 people to 50% capacity to a maximum of 200 in a short period of time. Thankfully, one of the principles that our team recommended was designing everything to allow for maximum flexibility so that whether we suddenly could add more people or we had restrictions re-imposed, we would be able to respond accordingly.
Based on the stipulations of the Archdiocese, we have adopted an approach of “conditions, not timelines,” and organized the re-opening process around a series of phases, much like many of our Canadian provinces have. And we are excited to move into “Phase 1” on Sunday July 12 th , by celebrating the 10am Mass in person with those who have signed up to serve all of us as we re- open. If all goes well, we anticipate moving quickly into “Phase 2.”
In Phase 2, we will have three Masses: 4:30pm on Saturday, 9am livestreamed on Sunday, and 11:15am on Sunday. All three Masses will be open to parishioners. All three Masses will be at our Saint John Vianney church site. Further details regarding the phases of our re-opening process will be available here on our website soon.
It’s very important that we respect and value the decision each parishioner makes to either return at this time, or to continue to stay home. There are a variety of reasons a parishioner may choose not to return right now. And it should go without saying that should parishioners wish to return at a later date they would be welcomed back with open arms…at a safe physical distance! Just to reassure those who do not plan to return at this time, Archbishop Mancini wrote in his most recent letter: “I continue to provide dispensation from the Sunday Mass for those who may not be able to attend for health reasons or due to capacity restrictions.”
The electronic means of sign-up for Mass can be found here. Once you sign up, you will remain signed up. You only need to do this once. You will then receive confirmation of your in-person participation at a Sunday Mass a day or two prior to it, each week. We will also be receiving sign-up’s through phone call for those who cannot connect to us electronically. Depending on the number of parishioners that have signed up, you may be placed in a rotation. At this time, we cannot guarantee that you will be able to go to Sunday Mass every week.
You should also expect to see a “Welcome Back!” video, taking you through the various steps of coming back to Mass at Holy Trinity, beginning right at home, through entering the parking lot, into the church, and into a pew, and back again!
In the initial phases of reopening, the priority is going to be Sunday Mass, the sacraments, and funeral ministry. All of this while keeping our parish focus of “making and equipping disciples who joyfully go and invite others to Jesus.” Some of you have already inquired about weekday Masses, private prayer, events, and meetings. We are not ready to incorporate these aspects of ordinary parish life into the initial phases of reopening. Please keep in mind that for every Mass, liturgy, meeting, or event, we must follow the same protocols. We have to re-open in a manner that is sustainable for our staff and those who will be serving.
I want to thank you for your ongoing prayer support, your encouraging words, your willingness to help, your love for our parish, and above all, your love for God. Please continue to keep the staff, those who will be stepping into serving roles to re-open, and indeed this whole process, in your prayers.
In Christ Jesus,
Fr. Bryan Sabourin, CC
June 19th Update from Archbishop Mancini
For further information about the re-opening of the parishes please consult the re-opening guidelines by clicking the button below.
June 1st Letter from Archbishop Mancini
Archbishop Mancini has released an important letter updating the faithful of our archdiocese with regards to the celebration of sacraments in these times of COVID-19.
Working in partnership with government health authorities, and out of “our deepest respect for human life and health” our churches will remain closed to the public. Please click on the button below to read the letter in its entirety.
May 22nd Letter from Fr Bryan
May 22, 2020
Dear Friends in Christ,
COVID-19 has brought with it many challenges to us as a community of faith, not the least of which is the inability to gather in person. In consultation with my Finance Council, my Leadership Team, and the Archdiocese, Sharon Hebert and Gina Bright are no longer under the employ of Holy Trinity parish. This was a very difficult and painful decision, necessitated by two main factors: (1) the reality of structures having become obsolete and; (2) financial constraints on the parish and our entire community. Given the long-term effect COVID-19 has had and will continue to have on our parish, especially with regard to our ability to gather, the positions of “housekeeper” and “office manager” became untenable. This difficult decision has indeed brought the parish some financial relief as we continue to adapt our structures and be good stewards of the gifts God continues to provide us. Sharon and Gina qualify for government assistance during this time. However, I do ask that you keep them both in your prayers.
In the midst of every season of difficulty it’s important to ask, what is God doing, and what opportunities is He providing us?
At Holy Trinity we have been asking that question, and at Saint Benedict parish they have been asking that question also. And I do believe that when we seek the Lord together, He often provides out of His great abundance. One of our great needs at our parish has been someone to take charge of our communications, and during this pandemic, when everything went online, the need only increased. Father Simon Lobo, pastor of Saint Benedict, has offered the time and considerable talents of Kate Robinson, at no cost to us, to help us for a few months to bring our communications to the next level. You will have seen evidence of that already in the launch of our new e-bulletin “First 5.”
Kate Robinson has worked at Saint Benedict parish for the past 10 years. Among the various roles she has had, she served as the Director of Communications. She brings considerable expertise in publishing, working with websites, graphic design, and more. And she shares our mission to make and equip disciples who joyfully go and invite others to Jesus. We are thrilled that she will be sharing time between us and Saint Benedict for the next few months.
May 8th Letter from Fr Bryan
May 8, 2020
Dear faithful parishioners,
Alleluia! Christ is Risen! This year we celebrated the Triduum in a way we never thought possible. Now that our only option for church is online, we are doing everything we can to reach our parishioners. But we also see a new mission field outside our walls. People are hungry for what the Church can offer in these times of crisis and we can’t forget our mission to reach them. Our mission hasn’t changed but our methods must. We can continue to make and equip disciples who joyfully go and invite others to Jesus.
Like all families our expenses continue. As a result of not being able to gather as a community our donations are down. We are cutting costs by reducing phone lines, keeping the heat at a bare minimum to avoid damage in all three buildings, and cancelling contracts for various services, while still continuing to serve our community through our Faith Formation programs online and caring for the poor through the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
We are blessed to be able to connect with you through our live stream mass each Sunday morning at 10am and to have shared our Easter Mission though live stream too. To participate in Mass and view the mission please visit www.holytrinityns.ca.
Your contributions are vital to help find safe and meaningful ways to continue to minister in these challenging days. How can you help?
- Signup for Pre Authorized Remittance (PAR) (form enclosed)
- E-transfer funds to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Donate online at www.holytrinityns.ca, using the GIVE button.
- Mail your cheque to the parish office.
“He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God.” – 2 Corinthians 9:10-12
Through Christ’s Resurrection we, as his followers, are a Resurrection People; a people called to witness to others the new life that Christ brings to all. With your support we can share with one another the hope, faith, and care that is so needed during this challenging time. Thank you for your generosity.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Bryan Sabourin CC, Pastor
- All weekend and weekday Masses at all three church locations are suspended until further notice (please see letter below from the Archdiocese for more details).
- Sunday 10am Mass will be live-streamed. Please visit our Home page and scroll down under “Livestream” for the link.
- All three Holy Trinity church buildings are closed until further notice.
- The Parish Office is closed until further notice. However, voicemails and e-mails will be checked Monday-Friday morning.
- Adoration will will be streamed live Wednesday and Friday from 9am-12pm. Please visit our Home page and scroll down under “Livestream” for the link.
- Confessions will be heard by appointment only. Please contact the parish office email@example.com or (902)865-2112 ex. 0
- Joy of the Gospel Teaching Series will be live-streamed on Thursday evenings.
- All face to face meetings, gatherings, prayer groups, Stations of the Cross, etc. are suspended until further notice.
- Friday night BINGO is cancelled.
- For information about funerals please contact the parish office firstname.lastname@example.org or (902)865-2112 ex. 0
For ongoing updates on cancellations please continue to visit our website or call 902-865-2112 and dial extension 44.
To e-mail the church: email@example.com
You may be wondering about your Sunday obligation. If circumstances prevent you from coming to Mass, such as Mass not being offered, you cannot be held to account for something you are unable to do. So you do not have to worry.
How Do I Continue to Give to Holy Trinity?
We do encourage you, if possible, to continue giving financially to the parish during this time. Most of our financial obligations will continue, and your contributions will be vital for our continued viability once we are on the other side of contending with this virus. We are so grateful for your continued support.