Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Warm greetings to you, the faithful of the Diocese of London.
Today, I am very pleased to bring you the good news that the churches of our diocese are now able to open for the public celebration of Mass. I know how painful the closure of our churches over the past three months has been for all of us, both our people and our priests. The news that we can now return to them is truly an occasion of great joy.
Some of our churches have already opened. Some will be opening for Sunday Mass this coming weekend, June 20 and 21. The rest will be opening the last weekend of June or the first weekend of July.
In all cases, our churches are putting in place strict safety measures to protect our people. These measures have been developed by the bishops of Ontario with the input of public health officials. We all share in the responsibility to follow these measures, so that our churches will be safe places and remain open for worship.
Please contact your parish for the times of Masses and read the guidelines and safety measures that will be followed when you go to one of our churches.
Many of our people, who are elderly and have health issues, will not feel comfortable returning to church at this time. I want to assure them that the dispensation from the obligation of Sunday Mass will remain in effect. A number of our churches will continue to livestream their Masses.
Over these past few months, it has been inspiring to hear of countless acts of charity and generosity. I have been encouraged as well by your efforts to stay connected with your parishes through the livestreaming of Masses, phone calls and many creative ways that have enriched your spiritual lives. I thank you, our people, and our priests and pastoral teams.
Yesterday, I spoke with one of our pastors who had already opened his church for Mass. He was well prepared to welcome parishioners. Everything went smoothly. He told me that a woman came up to receive Holy Communion with tears in her eyes. It was like the experience we have of embracing the one we love after a long absence. Her tears were a moving testimony of what the Eucharist means to us Catholics.
Now that our churches are opening, I join you in thanking God for the blessings he pours out on us. I thank you for your faithfulness and patience during this difficult time and assure you that I am remembering you in my prayers. Our Blessed Mother Mary cares for us. Through her intercession, may God protect us from all harm and fill us with his merciful love.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Rev. Ronald P. Fabbro, C.S.B.
Bishop of London