Alberta’s Open for Summer Plan

Stage 3 Starting July 1, 2021

My dear friends, we know that as of July 1, over seventy percent of Albertans will have received at least one vaccination. This triggers the long awaited, open for summer, phase three scenario. What does this mean generally here in the County, and more specifically to us here at Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish? The attached link gives us the total covid case load in the County of Strathcona… . The number of covid cases in the entire County is ten. I am of the humble opinion that catching covid in the county would be like finding the elusive Pokémon of past fame.
Generally: no more need to social distance. No need to wear masks other than where it is specified, e.g., Seniors Care centers, public transit. So, no masks, no distance. Generally, this may be the cause some anxious moments for a portion of our populace, after having to watch our step for the last fifteen months. Challenging as it was to get used to social distancing and the wearing of masks, now we need to change course. Our goal is to return to what we were used to, pre-covid. This may prove more challenging than we might imagine. There are many people who are all at different points on the continuum, when it comes to protocols that have been mandated over the past year or so. Regardless of where you are on the spectrum of protocols, be assured, your neighbor is probably not at the same place you are. You may believe this new-found freedom is not a minute too soon. Your friend may be anxious and believe we are still not doing enough to alleviate covid. Simply put my friends, wherever we are at on the Open for Summer gig, patience, love, and tolerance will be essential. We are all adapting to the best of our imperfect human ability. Don’t get me started on how I love change….
Specifically: Here in the parish, as a starting point, we will initiate or continue the following protocols as of July 1, 2021. These will be under constant evaluation and be adapted as the need becomes apparent.
  • Sanitizing stations will remain present in all areas of our parish community. We have developed some good hygienic habits over the last year and our goal is to maintain them. Not just because of covid but because of the yearly flu bug and all else that normally causes us problems. Not this past year, thanks, at least in part, to our good sanitizing practices.
  • We will continue entry into the Church by way of our OLPH International, colored pylons and ropes. You will not be screened but will be welcomed by a screener who will ask if you are feeling well this day. Gentle reminder: We should not be coming to Mass or anywhere else if we are symptomatic.
  • Our faithful ushers will continue to guide you to your pew, respecting distancing as much as is possible. For the time being we will leave our pews spaced alternately. However, as it becomes necessary, our ushers will start to fill the empty pews from the back to the front. This will produce a gradual getting used to having people in your immediate vicinity. Remember, we are following the AHS science that says it is not necessary for us to be distanced. My friends, we are just fine to sit beside each other only two feet apart rather than six feet. We can have someone else in the pew behind us. Things have changed. We are safe to do this.
  • Please be respectful and collaborate with the ushers when they take you to a pew. They have a plan and a good idea of what is needed and what is available. If you find yourself sitting at the end of a pew with a bunch of empty space in the rest of the pew, you can expect that someone will be walking in front of you to sit in that space. Best bet, move to the center of the pew right away. No one will be stepping over you then. I am smiling as I write this, because I do know how stubborn some folks are about where they sit. YIKES.
  • Would you feel more comfortable continuing to wear a mask? Please feel free to do so. You are not required to, but this is completely your decision. You are welcome, mask or no mask, provided you are symptom free. Again, a reminder, our welcoming screeners will greet you, and ask if you have any symptoms. No extra charge, it comes with the welcome.
  • We will continue to sanitize the pews after the Masses. This is not overly labor intensive, and no one will be upset about good hygienic practices.
  • The clergy will continue to wear masks when distributing Holy Communion. This is not required but Fr. Mario and I both agree it protects you from any respiratory aspiration from us when we say to you; “The Body of Christ.”
  • At least for the summer season, we will exit the Church from all three exits, which will have doors open for us. Again, just a good practice of non-contact with door handles.
  • Our offertory collection will continue as is, in our boxes by the doors for the present time. Once again, we encourage you to consider pre-authorized debit or credit card giving. It is handy and effective. It removes our fallible human memory from the equation. Please see the OLPH website or come to the parish office, open daily 7:30 am.—7:30 pm.
  • We will be putting water in the Holy Water fonts by the doors. Whether you use them is your choice. The baptismal font is on hold for now.
  • There will be no chairs allowed for seating at the back or in the transepts, for the foreseeable future. We need to get used to sitting beside one another in pews once again. Yes, I am smiling about this one too. If the pew seating offered is not acceptable, please gently let the usher know your concern. However, you may end up standing at the back of the Church for Mass if you get too particular about the pew offered you. More smiles. New times, new opportunities.
  • All ministries including music will be gradually welcomed back into our celebrations. It is summer and these will be works in progress as they are ready to go.
  • Holy Communion will be distributed on the hand or on the tongue but under one species (the Body) only. The Precious Blood will not be distributed at this time. For information, the teaching of the Catholic Church is this: The Holy Eucharist under one species, Body only, Blood only, or under both species, (Body and Blood), is equally efficacious to those receiving it. Body only or Body and Blood, we are receiving the same graces regardless of one species or two.
  • The Archdiocesan dispensation from attending Sunday Mass in person, will remain in effect and be evaluated at the end of August. We will continue to livestream our celebrations. For clarity though, the livestream will in the future be continued specifically for our seniors, the homebound, or the health and mobility challenged. Another thing we learned from covid. We should have been doing this years ago for our beloved seniors.
  • Finally, as of July 1, 2021, you will not need to sign up to attend the Holy Mass. However, we will continue to use our online sign up genius for our volunteers to sign up. This, for now, will include our screeners, ushers, cleaners, AV Techs, Adult servers, musician, extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist and proclaimers. We will be working on further planning and scheduling details with the leadership of these particular ministries going forward.
Thank you for your patience my friends. Please note, if you have constructive criticism or otherwise, I am the complaint department and will be pleased to have a conversation with you. Please do not let me hear that you were complaining to my precious volunteers, or you will find me complaining to you. Yes, smiling again. May God bless you and yours, with a happy, healthy, and holy summer my friends. Love and prayers,
Father Jim

June 1, 2020 – PUBLIC MASS has resumed with SAFETY PROTOCOLS in Place.

 You can continue to JOIN US FROM HOME on your computer.  

All Masses will continue to be livestreamed HERE

and on our parish Facebook page.

We’ve prepared this video to help you know what to expect as we return to publicly celebrated Mass at OLPH. Please call the parish 780-467-5470 or email with any questions. Note: the video is silent except for the section with Father Paul Cavanaugh reviewing the steps for communion.

*When unable to come to the church to receive the Eucharist, we can make a Spiritual Communion. This is a prayer in which we ask our Lord to come to us in the same way He would if we were able to receive the Sacrament.

My Jesus,

I believe that You are truly present in the Holy Eucharist.

I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul.

Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,

come at least spiritually into my heart.

I embrace You as if You were already there,

and unite myself wholly to You.

Never permit me to be separated from You.  Amen

St. Alphonsus Liguori (A.D. 1696-1787)

Please join with us in prayer for a rapid end to the COVID-19 virus.   May God grant healing to those who are ill, and eternal rest to those who have died. May the Lord’s blessing come upon our medical professionals and civic authorities, who continue to strive with enormous effort and great skill to keep all of us safe.

Please check back regularly for updates as things transpire. God’s blessings to all and thank you for your patience during this challenging time in our community and our world.