Presentation of the Lord
February 2, 2022
Dear Clergy, Religious and Faithful of the Diocese of Kamloops,
I am writing to update you regarding some recent changes to Orders and Recommendations of the Provincial Health Officer and Northern Health Authority and some changes we are making to permit accommodation for more of our parishioners.
As of January 20, 2022, the public health order for the Northern Health Region requiring vaccinations for those attending worship services has been rescinded. So, for Quesnel and Valemount, vaccinations are no longer required for attendance at Mass. They had not been required in the remainder of the Diocese.
Fifty percent seating capacity limits continue to be in place where all attendees and officiants are not fully vaccinated. With the exception, I note below, masks remain required as stated in my January 7, 2022 letter.
In order to accommodate those parishioners who validly meet the PHO exemptions concerning the wearing of masks, Parish Priests are permitted to designate one Sunday Mass (or anticipated Sunday Mass) to be held outdoors, or indoors, as a Mass which may be attended by those who validly meet the PHO exemptions. Anyone attending this designated Mass who does not validly meet the PHO exemptions must adhere to my directives concerning the wearing of masks.
All individuals attending a non-designated Sunday Mass (or non – designated anticipated Sunday Mass) must adhere to my directives concerning the wearing of masks.
I want to clarify that I do not interpret the most recent PHO orders to require that youth group leaders be fully vaccinated to lead worship services that are held at less than fifty percent seating capacity. This would include catechism, bible study, and prayer groups. This would not include activities that are social or sporting activities like a games night, basketball or other similar activity. The PHO orders require full vaccination for youth group leaders for those activities.
I recognize the fatigue that we feel regarding the restrictions on our gatherings and celebrations as a Catholic Community. But, as Catholics, we are not unfamiliar with the need for sacrifice. These small sacrifices are required in order that we can help each other, our clergy and our staff stay as safe as we can. I, again, ask for your patience, understanding, compassion, and respect for each other as we navigate through this challenging time.
I ask that we all look for ways that our challenges and sacrifices can bring us together as a diocesan family.
Joseph Phuong Nguyen
Bishop of Kamloops