Since last Friday, the Diocese of Grand Falls (Canada) is allowing entry to Mass and other parish events only for people who have tested positive for the COVID-19 vaccination.
On October 15, the Bishop of Grand Falls, Monsignor Robert Anthony Daniels, wrote a letter to priests and pastoral leaders informing the new ruling that parishioners who wish to go to Mass or make use of the parish facilities, submit your “vaccination pass.” .
“From October 22, 2021, it will be mandatory for all persons over 12 years of age who wish to attend mass or services in our churches, to provide proof of vaccination through an NLVaxPass vaccination, or show proof that they have been vaccinated through Provide their QR code before entering our churches,” the text says.
Grand Falls Parish is located in the county of Newfoundland and Labrador. Its territory covers nearly half of the island of Newfoundland. The ruling came after the province on October 22 enacted a system for identifying vaccinated people called a “vaccination passport,” which is required to enter “non-essential businesses.”
According to the clause, residents who wish to engage in “non-essential businesses” must download an application on their mobile phone showing their vaccination status.
Non-essential businesses include religious homes, yoga studios, beauty salons, bowling alleys, weddings, indoor restaurants, bingo halls, bars, and hockey arenas.
In the letter, the bishop indicated that those wishing to attend the diocesan mass should download the “NLVaxPass” application and obtain a digital vaccination passport, or make a hard copy of the vaccination QR code to show to those responsible for vaccination. Protocol parish, before they can enter the church.
Protocol officials, assistants or other parish volunteers who wish to enter their parishes must use a different application called “NLVaxVerify”, which is intended for organizations and serves to check the vaccination status of their members.
Once the vaccination status has been checked, the person will have to show their identity document before entering Mass so that their personal information can be confirmed. For those 19 years of age or older, your ID must include a photograph.
For children who have recently turned 12, they will be given a three-month “grace period” to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. After this time, they will also undergo the vaccination passport system to enter churches.
Bishop Daniels specified that “the name in [el documento de] The identification must match the name on the QR code of the COVID-19 vaccination record, or other form of proof of vaccination.” If names and birthdays do not match, protocol members in parishes must request additional identification.
In the letter, the bishop indicated that he asked the governorate’s Ministry of Health and Community Service to “check whether this step is necessary.” In addition, he noted that in cases where “the burden will be to provide evidence,” churches can allow believers to enter pastoral events such as funerals and weddings for “pastoral reasons,” but with restrictions.
Despite the application of the vaccination pass, capacity for masses in the diocese is still limited to 50%, singing is prohibited, and clergy and parishioners must always wear masks. In addition, physical distancing is required and all those entering the church must provide their personal information to trace potential contacts.
Bishop Daniels said, explaining that the Department of Health “has assured us that we will be notified in time to make these changes in our parishes.”
In addition, he recommended to parish offices to speed up the process of checking the vaccination status of believers before the liturgy, they can keep a record of those who have been vaccinated. However, this can only be done with the consent of each person.
“All this is new to us; there will be a learning curve and there will be failures,” said the bishop. “He will test our patience and the patience of our subjects. But we cannot let the epidemic win.” “Our people need access to the sacramental life of the Church especially now. Together we can make this work.”
For their part, the other two ecclesiastical districts in the governorate have adopted other approaches to implementing the “immunization passport” system. John’s Diocese of Newfoundland, the oldest English-speaking Catholic authority in North America, has not made public statements about the vaccination passport.
while the Diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador It ordered that the vaccination status be checked as of October 22 at “all non-religious meetings” held “in the property of the Church,” as its bishop, Monsignor Bart van Ruijn, noted in a letter dated October 19.
He specified that “this includes any event where parish facilities are rented or used by groups of third parties.”
“It is the responsibility of the parish to ensure that all groups that use their facilities comply with the decree” of the Ministry of Health, and “this includes verifying a person’s personal identity,” he said. In addition, he noted that the use of masks and physical distancing will continue to be required.
Bishop Bart thanked “the priests, ministers and staff for their cooperation to keep our parishioners safe from the spread of the virus,” through the protocols that have been implemented.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Newfoundland and Labrador has reported 1,964 cases of COVID-19 and 15 deaths. Currently, only one person with COVID-19 is in hospital.
In September, the Archdiocese of Moncton in New Brunswick ordered that anyone 12 and older who participates in meetings at churches, rectums or community centers be vaccinated. Several days later, he said he would not need proof of vaccination at Mass, baptisms, and prayer groups.
Translated and adapted by Cynthia Perez. Originally Posted in CN.