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Canadian diocese requires COVID-19 vaccination to attend Mass

Christine Rousselle By Christine Rousselle for CNA

Coronavirus vaccine, stock image. Credit: M-Foto/Shutterstock

Washington D.C., Oct 26, 2021 / 11:10 am (CNA).

A Catholic diocese in Canada will be requiring proof of vaccination and identity verification for anyone age 12 or older to attend Mass or other events held at parishes.

“Effective October 22, 2021, it will be mandatory for all persons 12 and older wishing to attend Masses or Services in our churches to demonstrate proof of vaccination by using the Vaccine Passport: NLVaxPass or by showing proof of vaccination by presenting their QR code before entering our churches,” said an Oct. 15 letter from Bishop Robert Anthony Daniels of Grand Falls to the priests and pastoral leaders of the diocese.

The Diocese of Grand Falls is located in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Its territory is approximately half of the island of Newfoundland.

The province enacted its vaccine passport system on Oct. 22, requiring residents to download an app and present proof of vaccination to enter “non-essential businesses.”

Houses of worship, along with yoga studios, hair salons, bowling alleys, wedding receptions, indoor restaurants, bingo halls, bars, and hockey arenas are all locations where proof of vaccination is required.

Those who have recently turned 12 will have a three-month “grace period” to receive a COVID-19 vaccine before being subject to the vaccine passport system at churches, the diocese said.

Per Bishop Daniels’ letter, those wishing to attend Mass in the diocese have to download the NLVaxPass app, or print out a physical copy of their vaccine QR code to show the ushers before they can enter the church. A different app, NLVaxVerify, will be used by the ushers, greeters, or other volunteers to verify vaccination status upon entry.

Once vaccination status is verified, a person will then have to show an identification card to go to Mass. For anyone 19 or older, this must be a photo identification.

“The name on the identification must match the name on the COVID-19 Vaccination Record QR code or other form of proof of vaccination,” said Daniels. If the names and birthdays do not match, ushers are instructed to request an additional ID card.

Daniels said he had asked the province’s Ministry of Health and Community Services “to verify that this step will be necessary.”

He noted that in certain cases where “it will be a burden for those attending to provide proof,” churches may allow entry with restrictions “for pastoral reasons.” Examples of these situations include funerals and weddings, he noted.

Despite the implementation of the vaccine passport, capacity at Masses in the Diocese of Grand Falls is still limited to 50%, congregational singing is prohibited, clergy and parishioners must wear non-medical masks at all times, physical distancing is required, and all who enter the church must write down their information for potential contact tracing.

These restrictions, said Daniels, will be lifted “for those parishes/churches complying with the Vaccine Passport Mandate.” He added that the health ministry “has assured us that we will be notified in a timely manner to effect those changes in our parishes.”

To speed up the process of verifying vaccination statuses before Mass, parish offices may keep a record of the vaccinated. This can only be done with the consent of each person, however.

“This is all new to us; there will be a learning curve and there will be glitches,” said Daniels. “Our patience and the patience of our parishioners will be tested. But we cannot let the pandemic win.”

“Our people need access to the Sacramental life of the Church especially now. Together we can make this work,” he said.

The other two dioceses in the province have taken different approaches to implementing the vaccine passport system.

The Archdiocese of St. John’s in Newfoundland, the oldest Catholic jurisdiction in English-speaking North America, has not released public statements concerning the vaccine passport.

The Diocese of Corner Brook and Labrador is requiring vaccine verification “for all non-faith-based gatherings on Church Property beginning on October 22nd,” according to an Oct. 19 letter from Bishop Bart van Roijen.

“This includes any events where parish facilities are rented out or used by third party groups,” he said. “It is the parish’s responsibility to ensure that all groups using their facilities are compliant with proof of Public Health’s Proof of Vaccination mandate, this includes the verification of the person’s personal identification.”

Masks and physical distancing will still be required, said van Roijen.

“I would like to extend my gratitude to the priests, ministers, and employees for your cooperation in keeping our parishes safe from the spread of the virus,” he said. “Your attention to these protocols is gratefully appreciated.”

Since the start of the pandemic, Newfoundland and Labrador has reported 1,964 cases of COVID-19, with 15 deaths. There is presently one person reported in the hospital with the disease.

In September, the Archdiocese of Moncton in New Brunswick announced a vaccine mandate for anyone age 12 or older at gatherings in churches, rectories, or community centers of the archdiocese. Several days later, the archdiocese said it would not require proof of vaccination at Masses, baptisms, and prayer groups.

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  1. insane

    definite government over reach, dictating who can and cannot receive the Holy Eucharist?!?

    vaccine passports are becoming the mark of the beast

    guess underground Masses will have to circle back into fashion, though would be very difficult in this highly monitored big brother world

    vaccines don’t even prevent you from catching covid… proper treatment plans for anyone who gets covid would obsolete all these vaccine pushes…

    • Daniels is simply another miter wearing coward who has chosen to capitulate to the state. He deserves to have his coffers dry up, maybe then he’ll comprehend the gravity of what he’s done.

      vaccines don’t even prevent you from catching covid…

      The experimental drug therapies being pushed upon people as a panacea for the Wuhan virus aren’t vaccines.

    • I hope the Bishop read todays Gospel Luke 14: 22-30 He will say to you in reply, I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, All you evildoers !
      Jesus does not know half of the Church any longer it has strayed so far from him they are now STRANGERS. I will pray for all the stangers in the church.

  2. Another Covid Fascist (Faucist?) in a Miter, hellbent on forcing his flock to take an experimental vaccine despite the CDF stating that no Catholic can be forced to take said vaccine.

  3. Despite the euphemism “mandatory for all persons… wishing to attend Masses or Services in our churches”, the meaning is that the sacraments and their efficacy (since it is a requirement of full completion)is conditional on a government mandate, that is a doctrinal instruction from a bishop
    The church is failing
    Very soon it will be eclipsed or dead all that remains then is the return of the King.

  4. There’s a reason the Island and it’s inhabitants have worn the moniker of the term
    “Goofy Newfies”. Bishop Daniel personifies it.

  5. When you post articles like these, it would be great if you link any social media they have so we can let them know what we think. Let’s keep people out of church, huh?????????

  6. Opening up a can of unholy worms; not surprising though, coming from our northern hand-wringing neighbors

    turn the other cheek may have new meaning

  7. Those who eschew the immoral vaccines will now be denied the Eucharist. So, if you have a properly formed Catholic conscience that tells you not to support fetal cell research, you will be barred from these Canadian churches. “Jesus wept.”

  8. “Our patience and the patience of our parishioners will be tested. But we cannot let the pandemic win.” Hey, Daniels, don’t look now but the pandemic just did win, at least in the Diocese of Grand Falls. It is utterly astounding to me how many complete idiots have been elevated to Bishop in today’s Church.

  9. Covid has affected Canada in a VERY peculiar way. It has turned them into Nazi Germany. I wish them poor sailing in their effort to find an easy method to “check covid papers” prior to each Mass. Here’s an idea. An SS Officer, or excuse me, a Canadian policeman, no doubt should be posted at every church ready to arrest and/or beat anyone who dares to want to worship without being jabbed with an unstudied substance. After all, they cannot be content with simply jailing Christian ministers as they have thus far.The jailed ministers need some company!! Its always been known that while Canadians may LOOK like Americans, they totally lack our backbone.But who knew that their entire population would cave so easily and give up their freedoms? Australia has gone down this same road. As for the Canadian Bishop who is kneeling before the govt, by complying with having his congregants injected with vaccine made from aborted fetal cells, he is the epitome of a coward and should resign. He has betrayed his parishioners.Funny, I dont see people dying in the streets by the millions from Covid. What is the power grab and forced capitulation of the population REALLY about??

  10. 1) Waiting to see reaction from other Canadian bishops.
    2) Are they vaccines or just therapeutic drugs? I still don’t know.
    3) To me, Goofy Newfie is a term of endearment. (I know some disagree). Please don’t insult Newfoundlanders. They are, by and large, the living embodiment of the moniker, “salt of the earth”.

  11. I feared in early 2020 this would become reality. I’ve already squared it with wonderful retired Priests that I can continue to receive The Holy Eucharist. Where there is faith there is always a way. Pray.

  12. Canada had a much better response to this pandemic than the USA. Only 15 deaths in Newfoundland and Labrador is commendable. I do not understand why Americans refuse to work together to minimize the affects of this pandemic. I received my covid vaccination in March and the sky hasn’t fallen on me yet. Saving lives is pro-life. People who refuse to get vaccinated and unknowingly pass on the virus to their neighbors are killing Americans needlessly—–there is no excuse for this. It is a Christian value to take care of our neighbors. I believe many Canadians feel lucky their country minimized the affects of this pandemic.

    • I received my covid vaccination in March(sic)

      You weren’t injected with a vaccine.

      and unknowingly pass on the virus to their neighbors

      The fact is that the experimental drug therapy that you were injected with won’t prevent you from getting infected or infecting others with the Wuhan virus.

      I believe many Canadians feel lucky their country minimized the affects of this pandemic.

      Many Canadians have foolishly drunk the false narrative kool aid being peddled by their government and the DLEMM – Dominant Liberal Establishment Mass Media, including yourself Gerald.

    • Because the disease is not as deadly as the media claims. Because unlike with numerous other vaccines, some people have DIED from talking the covid VACCINE. Because a government agency is trying to FORCE people to take this vaccine or risk the loss of jobs. With less than a 1% death rate this is a highly survivable disease not worth the hysteric being given it by the media. I HAD covid back in 2020. I am 67, and I am not dead by a long shot. I subsequently got the vaccine and last week the booster. I have no history of reacting to vaccines, nor did I react to this one. Taking the vaccine was my choice. CHOICE is a major component of American life, one most of us will not surrender easily. Not all of us are wimp out cases like your Bishop.The bigger question is why do the governments insist on vaccinating everyone in the population for such a highly survivable disease?? Why has the church caved to this hysteria to the point of church closures and forbidding unvaccinated people, especially children, from attending worship services? If YOU have been vaccinated and you believe it actually WORKS, what are YOU afraid of? I am responsible for my own health. I should not have to be responsible for yours. In my opinion, churchmen or Bishops who cooperate in any way in allowing the government to suspend or interfere with Catholics going to Mass, or ANY reason, should be removed from Office immediately.

  13. I am constantly trying to get my head around the fact that a ‘vaccine’ that does not prevent getting and spreading Covid is being pushed so hard. It is also not very effective since it also only lasts a few months. On top of that, for those who have allergies or who are unfortunate enough to suffer serious side effects from medications, the risks are serious and can even mean death as it has in some cases and ongoing disability in others. It is not logical to be pushing something so risky for an illness that doesn’t carry as high a risk as getting the vaccine. Something operating here other than concern for people’s health.

  14. very shameful that he fears the government not God.
    he has not done any research to know what is happening
    He is not there to save souls but to get recognition for his stand for the government.
    very unchristian- sad

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