PROTOCOL TO ATTEND MASS
UPDATED MARCH 12, 2021
In-person gatherings for prayer and worship are now permitted with conditions described in this article. There are many members who are older and/or have health conditions, which makes them more vulnerable to serious illness from COVID-19. This page offers options for stay-at-home parishioners.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR OLA
The following measures are in place to help keep everyone safe:
hand sanitizer available throughout the church
· touch as few surfaces as possible (doors, other chairs)
· keep the mandated distance from other Parishioners
· follow the instructions of the ushers
· masks are mandatory
· leave by the back door
· votive candles are available for your prayer intentions; please disinfect the lighters before and after use.
As recommended by the diocese, “We are counting on your collaboration to maintain compliance with these measures in order to help limit the spread of the virus and thus allow our churches to remain open during Lent and Easter.”
SAFETY RULES EXPLAINED
To understand the safety measures taken to keep everyone safe, it is important to note what has been learned so far about COVID-19 and how it spreads. COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly through close contact from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another (less than 1.5 meters) and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. COVID-19 may be spread by people who are asymptomatic, that is, not showing symptoms.
WEAR A MASK
Masks are recommended as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the mask coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice. This is called source control. This recommendation is based on what we know about the role respiratory droplets play in the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, paired with emerging evidence from clinical and laboratory studies that shows masks reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth.
Therefore, the Archdiocese of Gatineau has deemed it necessary to comply with this requirement and asks all parishioners and visitors to wear a mask:
upon entering the church and while transiting the interior space
when coming up for communion, removing it right before receiving the Blessed Sacrament
right after consuming the Consecrated Host
remove it only while seating
SANITIZE YOUR HANDS
Soap and water are more effective than hand sanitizers at removing certain kinds of germs, soil, grease, harmful chemicals and heavy metals. However, if soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-90% alcohol. Many studies have found that sanitizers with an alcohol concentration between 60–95% are more effective at killing germs than those with a lower alcohol concentration or non-alcohol-based hand sanitizers, which merely reduce the growth of germs rather than kill them.
When using hand sanitizer:
apply a pump-full of the product to the palm of one hand
rub the product all over the surfaces of your hands until your hands are dry
let it dry completely, do not wipe it off as that won't let the product kill the virus, bacteria or germs.
FOLLOW THE USHER
The ushers are volunteering parishioners that have been trained on the safety regulations set out by the government of Quebec and the Archdiocese of Gatineau. They ensure the guidelines are being followed within our parish facility to keep everyone safe.
Please follow the direction given by the ushers at the entrance of the church by:
answering the questions they ask
wearing your mask
using the hand sanitizer provided
waiting to be seated in the place they assign you
Also follow their directions during communion by patiently:
remaining in your place until they call your row to the centre isle
returning to your seat via the side isle belonging to your section
At the end of mass, remain in your seat until the usher calls your row to vacate the premises using the designated exit door.
FOLLOW THE ARROWS
The government of Quebec has deemed it necessary for places of worship to create a one-direction flow for people.
At Our Lady of the Annunciation, arrows have been placed on the floor to indicate the designated flow of people that complies with government requirements, with one single entrance (front door) and one single exit (back door labeled EXIT).
Please note that if there is a need to use the washroom facilities, the correct flow is leaving the main nave to go downstairs via the back sacristy door, and returning to the main nave via the ramp that comes to the main entrance of the church. Arrows on the floor point the correct direction you should take.
The arrows on the floor of the ramp from the main entrance to the main nave as well as those on the centre isle in the main nave have been placed at 1.5 meters for you to use them as reference of where to stand in relation to others standing in wait to be seated or to receive holy communion.
KEEP YOUR DISTANCE
Physical distancing, also called “social distancing,” means keeping a safe space between yourself and other people who are not from your household. Because COVID-19 spreads mainly when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, and droplets from their mouth or nose are launched into the air and land in the mouths or noses of people nearby and can also be inhaled into the lungs, it is important to stay at least 1.5 meters away from others when possible, even if you—or they—do not have any symptoms.
Some tips for safe physical distancing are:
choose your method of transportation wisely, and if a public form of transportation is used, make sure you follow other safety guidelines to minimize the risk of infection
limit contact with surfaces and other people
use the arrows on the floor of the church as a distance reference to keep from others. They have been placed at 1.5 meters each.
COVID-19 can live for hours or days on a surface, depending on factors such as sunlight, humidity, and the type of surface. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. However, this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces.
For this reason at Our Lady of the Annunciation Parish, a spray bottle with clinical surface sanitizer has been provided in each washroom (men and women's). Please use the provided sanitizer to disinfect the area you will use prior to using it and after you have used it. Wipe it off with paper towel, placing the paper towel in the garbage can provided. Ensure you wash your hands after sanitizing the space.
High touch surfaces include:
Doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, toilets, faucets and sinks.
The Church has always recognized that while attending Sunday Mass is an obligation for the wellbeing of our faith and soul, there are certain times when it is permitted and recommended that one does not attend and/or stays home. During this time, if you're not feeling unwell, it is recommended to remain at home. Here are some useful guidelines:
STAY HOME Most people with COVID-19 have mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. Do not leave your home, except to get medical care. Do not visit public areas.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF Get rest and stay hydrated. Take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, to help you feel better.
STAY IN TOUCH WITH YOUR DOCTOR Call before you get medical care. Be sure to get care if you have trouble breathing, or have any other emergency warning signs, or if you think it is an emergency.
AVOID PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION Such as buses, ride-sharing, or taxis.
SEPARATE YOURSELF FROM OTHERS As much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people and pets in your home. If possible, you should use a separate bathroom. If you need to be around other people or animals in or outside of the home, wear a mask.
MONITOR SYMPTOMS Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, or other symptoms. Follow care instructions from your healthcare provider and local health department. Your local health authorities may give instructions on checking your symptoms and reporting information.
SEEK EMERGENCY ATTENTION Look for emergency warning signs* for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:
Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
Inability to wake or stay awake
Bluish lips or face
* This list does not show all possible symptoms. Please call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
Call 911 or call ahead to your local emergency facility: Notify the operator that you are seeking care for someone who has or may have COVID-19.
Below are some resources you can use to sustain your faith while you are at home.
UNWELL? STAY HOME
WEAR A MASK
AT ALL TIMES EXCEPT WHEN SEATED
OVER 65 OR FEELING UNWELL?
RECOMMENDED TEMPORARY OPTIONS FOR WORSHIP
Online mass presented by Ascension Press and presided by Fr. Mike Schmitz. Online mass should only be used only when a serious cause prevents one from physically going into a place of worship and to celebrate mass with the rest of the community.
A Christian miniseries on the life of Jesus.
Whenever a creative rendition is done on the life of Jesus or any other Biblical character, it is advice to read the corresponding Bible passages for a more concise understanding of the Biblical details.
A series of solid Catholic short talks that walk you through the historical books of the Bible that knit together the Story of Salvation. These series is based on Jeff Cavins' The Great Bible Adventure Series, and is lead by Fr. Mike Schmitz.
REMEMBER THAT NO DIGITALLY-ACCESSIBLE RESOURCES, ONLINE MASS, NOR ANY SPIRITUAL COMMUNION CAN REPLACE THE GRACES GOD GRANTS WHEN PHYSICALLY RECEIVING THE EUCHARIST. WE STRONGLY URGE YOU THAT, IF YOU'RE ABLE, COME AND ATTEND MASS AT THE PARISH; COME VISIT OUR LORD. REMEMBER IT IS A RELATIONSHIP.