Diocese of Montreal
COMMUNIQUÉ No. 9 — May 12, 2020
to Pastors, Parish Pastoral Teams
and Religious Congregations
Dear Brothers and Sisters, dedicated to evangelization in the diocese of
Montreal, here is some useful information regarding projected activities:
1. While Quebec is currently starting a gradual “deconfinement”,
Greater Montreal is facing a more difficult situation resulting in additional
delays. Despite this, we are actively developing plans to implement
various stages of church-related “deconfinement.”
The Assembly of Quebec Catholic Bishops (AÉCQ) is leading this
process in co-operation with other religious leaders and in discussion
with government and public-health authorities. Things could reopen
soon, at least outside of Montreal. Moreover, the measures adopted
elsewhere can eventually be applied here, and we will be in a position to
fine-tune the process by following developments in other regions.
A working group, led by Fr. Jean-Chrysostome Zoloshi, has been set up
to receive practical ideas regarding “deconfinement.” You can send him
contact with the AÉCQ secretariat. Archbishop Lépine, a member of the
AÉCQ executive, is following developments very closely.
We are expecting to receive an approved protocol from the AÉCQ in a
few days. It will serve as the basis for our diocesan orientations and
strategies. As in other spheres of public activity, we can expect that a
Public Health announcement will then be made. This usually entails a
period of preparation enabling the concerned groups to implement the
necessary measures beforehand.
Now is the time for us to prepare, even if the time for our
“deconfinement” has not, as yet, arrived. By the beginning of June, we
hope to communicate to pastoral teams and others involved in the
Church, some information concerning:
A. The gradual resumption of our activities, particularly liturgical
a) The stages of “deconfinement” envisaged,
b) A provisional timetable,
c) An overview of concrete guidelines that will make this possible.
B. The gradual return to work for pastoral and support staff, especially
in the parishes:
a) Occupational health and safety practices,
b) Pre-planned holiday/vacation time this summer,
c) Salaries for pastoral and support personnel, taking into account the
end or the extension of the financial support measures introduced by the
Federal Government and considering the financial situation of parishes.
C. An overview of pastoral activity in the Church for Fall 2020 and
a) Given the postponement of many celebrations of Christian initiation,
weddings and funerals,
b) Given the suspension of most catechetical activities and the
continuation of some through virtual activities, to various degrees, in
c) Given the possible prolongation of the pandemic, the concerns of
parents, the situation of pastoral and catechetical leaders, some of
whom are more "at risk,"
d) It is anticipated that, for some parishes, a “completion” of the
activities related to the year 2019-2020 calls for postponing and even
rethinking both the traditional start of the activities of 2020-2021 as well
as the nature and the form of these very activities. To do so, a
neighbourhood approach – which necessitates collaboration among
parishes in the same area – should guide the initiatives we adopt.
Together with his diocesan councils and in co-operation with the different
pastoral areas, the Archbishop is working to create realistic scenarios to
address various situations.
2. Thursday May 14: Day for Human Solidarity and Dignity of the
I would also like to draw your attention to two convergent initiatives being
held May 14: one to promote fraternity and the other, dignity of the
a) Day of prayer, fasting and charitable work for humanity: Pope
Francis invites all believers of all religious traditions and people of
goodwill to join spiritually in a day of prayer, fasting and works of charity
to ask for divine assistance so that humanity can overcome the
pandemic caused by the coronavirus.
b) Mass for Life: Archbishop Christian Lépine will preside on May, 14,
at 8 a.m., a special Mass to celebrate the dignity of life, the family and
the most vulnerable among us, including their loved ones and their
caregivers. This Mass will be celebrated in conjunction with the National
March for Life (www.marchforlife.ca), which would have taken place that
same day. Mass will be celebrated in camera (privately) at Mary Queen
of the World Cathedral and can be watched live
3. Communication to nourish hope
a) Archbishop Lépine is publishing his most recent pastoral letter, titled
“The Primacy of Spiritual Life.” It will be posted soon on the diocesan
b) Parishes that use the Weekly Parish Bulletin service
(http://www.semainierparoissial.com/paroisses_.html ) can continue to
publish their bulletin online. Parishes are urged to use all means of
communication available to them to keep parishioners informed of the
latest parish news, find the schedule for online celebrations, and receive
messages from their pastor and the Archdiocese.
Much remains unclear, and many concerns may yet arise. For some
time now, we had undertaken the project “Working together for the
missionary transformation of our Church.” Like many construction sites
throughout Quebec, we might think that this one, too, had stopped or
has been put on hold. In faith, we can attest that, very much to the
contrary, the Lord, undoubtedly by challenging us, gives it unexpected
impetus, making it all the more pressing. The Resurrection that we have
just celebrated has strengthened us in our conviction: the Lord is present
and active among his people.
In this hope, may He help us to remain patient and to persevere!
+Alain Faubert, VG
Auxiliary Bishop of Montréal