Liturgical Guidance for Stage 3 of Alberta’s relaunch strategy

23 June 2021

Appears in: AnnouncementArchdiocesan News

News Release

Liturgical Guidance for Stage 3 of Alberta’s relaunch strategy

Edmonton, June 23, 2021 – The Province of Alberta has announced that Alberta’s Open for Summer Plan will enter Stage 3 on Thursday, July 1, 2021. As parishes begin to reopen, numerous conversations will occur, and of course, discernment and discretion in each parish circumstance. We know that being patient with one another is so crucial as the reopening begins. Please allow yourselves the opportunity to evaluate and re-evaluate as the reopening progress and to discern any changes. As you will note below, there will be an evaluation of specific protocols over the summer months.

  • As we prepare to welcome parishioners back, the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass continues and will be evaluated at the end of August 2021.
  • Parishes within municipalities that have a mask bylaw in place should follow the local bylaw of that municipality. We understand that this may be different from region to region across the Archdiocese.
  • Beginning July 1, 2021, preregistration for mass and contact tracing no longer need to take place.
  • It is good to have hand sanitizing stations remain as we continue to follow health directives for good hand hygiene. Parishioners may feel comfortable wearing masks. They may continue to do so.
  • Please consider continued disinfecting and sanitizing protocols of surfaces and pews.
  • Please continue to remind parishioners that if they have COVID symptoms, they should stay home and follow AHS directives. In addition, the COVID symptom posters distributed last year can remain in the main entrances of the parish to remind parishioners of the general screening questions.
  • At the discretion of the Pastor and your assistants, with regards to physical distancing, please decide if you leave in place the markers you have on your pews indicating where people can sit or whether you have some pews blocked off. Again, you may need to evaluate this as the opening begins and throughout the summer.
  • Hospitality after mass can take place.
  • At the discretion of the Pastor, Holy Water Fonts can be filled.

Mass (Sunday and weekday)

  • There is no capacity limit.
  • The celebration of mass will look very similar to pre-pandemic time. You may once again have Servers, Lectors, Music Ministers, Greeters/Ushers and Sacristans.
  • The Sign of Peace: please continue to offer one another the sign of peace by a bow. A return to a handshake will be evaluated by the end of August 2021.
  • The distribution of Holy Communion will continue to be under one species, the Body of Christ.
  • The distribution of Holy Communion on the tongue is allowed. However, if you or the Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion makes contact with the Communicant, please sanitize your hands with hand sanitizer before continuing to distribute Communion.
  • Music Ministry: All mass parts can be sung. It is left to the discretion of the Pastor and Music Ministers as to physical distancing etc. Congregational singing is allowed.

Weddings (With Mass and Outside of Mass)

  • There is no capacity limit.
  • You may have servers assist you.

Funerals (Funeral Mass or Funeral Liturgy outside of Mass

  • There is no capacity limit.
  • Please follow guidance from AHS on Funeral Receptions.


  • Parishes can continue to celebrate baptisms, one family or a few families at a time. Please follow the protocols in place for the safety of all. However, it is good to wait until after the summer months before returning to group baptisms or baptisms during mass.


  • Pastors may confer the Sacrament of the Confirmation, especially if the parish postponed the celebration due to the recent restrictions.
  • If a priest does reschedule, please inform Suzanne Brohier in the Archbishop’s Office. Archbishop Smith will provide a letter of delegation to the Pastor.

Visitation to the Sick

  • A priest or deacon may take Holy Communion to the sick.
  • If visitation is to a hospital or nursing home, please adhere to the institution’s admission and risk mitigation policies.

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

  • Adoration is permitted.
  • There is no capacity limit.

As we enter into Stage 3 of Alberta’s relaunch strategy, there will be many conversations that happen between you, your parish team, PPC, volunteer leaders and volunteers. The leadership and discretion that priests and theirr assistants provide will help all parishioners in their return to parish life.

Liturgy Committees will continue to invite liturgical ministers to resume their ministry, to prepare short-term ministry schedules for the summer months, and even retraining. We must honour our volunteers in the months ahead. We are sure many ideas have been shared on how best to do this.

We again renew our gratitude to all of you, clergy and parishioners, for your faithful stewardship during these past several months.


Fr. Paul Kavanagh,
Senior Lead

For more information contact the Communications Office:

Andrew Ehrkamp, Communications Lead | Ph: 780-469-1010 ext. 2441 | Cell: 780-399-6523