The Archdiocese of Toronto has closed its churches to public access as the Ontario government ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses.Michael Swan, Canadian Catholic News

All churches closed in the Archdiocese of Toronto

After previously cancelling public celebrations of the sacraments including daily and Sunday Masses, the Archdiocese has taken the additional step of entirely closing its churches to public access

“In view of the increased restrictions on public activity, I am now asking you to close your church and any chapel, even for individual prayer, effective immediately,” said a statement released March 24 by Cardinal Thomas Collins.

Parish offices will also be closed to the public and priests are being encouraged to make arrangement to allow parish to work remotely.

The announcement came the day of the Province of Ontario ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses. Other Ontario dioceses are also expected to order additional closures and cancellations.

Similar measures have been taken in parishes in Nova Scotia after the province declared a state of emergency.

Archbishop Anthony Mancini has ordered the closure of all church buildings in order to help contain the COVID-19 virus.

“We are here to offer whatever assistance we can to our clergy and parishes during this challenging time,’ he said.  “Our staff will continue to answer phone calls, emails, and are able to ‘meet’ with people to provide support via the online meeting platform Zoom.

“Let us continue to hold in prayer those who are suffering from COVID-19, those who are caring for them, and all who are impacted by this virus, that God will shower us with strength, courage, and calm in the coming days and weeks,” read the archbishop’s statement.

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