Monday, November 28, 2022
Home Covid-19 Calgary bishop says its important for faithful to gather at Christmas services...

Calgary bishop says its important for faithful to gather at Christmas services during pandemic

It will be yet another silent night at Hillhurst United Church in northwest Calgary. This is the second Christmas that services will be held on-line.

In fact, the last in-person service held at the church was in March 2020.

“It was a heartbreaking and difficult decision to close for a second year in a row,” said John Pentland, lead minister at Hillhurst United Church.

This year, church leaders at Hillhurst United are urging other places of worship to go on-line too because of COVID-19.

Read more:

Canadians differ on holiday plans amid Omicron COVID-19 spread

“The advice we are getting is that (services) could be super-spreaders.  It’s really important that all large gatherings be limited, so we feel it’s important to remain closed to save lives,” Pentland said.

Story continues below advertisement

Calgary Bishop William McGrattan said he’s grateful that people in Alberta are still allowed to gather at churches this Christmas.

He said it’s important for the followers’ emotional and mental well-being to be able to attend mass during the holidays.

Read more:

COVID continues to cancel Calgary’s corporate Christmas parties

“To have people gather at Christmas can, for some, be a real source of support and encouragement, especially those who don’t have family members,” McGrattan said. “They come and they see other parishioners and they have this sense of extended family and community and they miss that. Especially the older parishioners.”

He said no Catholic churches in Calgary have cancelled Christmas masses.

“I think despite these restrictions, provided we maintain those safety measures, I think it’s important that we do gather this Christmas and celebrate this gift of Christ’s birth,” McGrattan said.

Steinbach pastor on religious services during holidays

Steinbach pastor on religious services during holidays

McGrattan will be conducting midnight mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral on Christmas Eve.

Story continues below advertisement

He said more services were added this year because of restrictions that limit places of worship to one third capacity.

Read more:

Calgary church leader discourages thinking with ‘toxic individuality,’ encourages community

Knox United Church made the call last week to hold services on-line only because of the Omicron variant surge.

Rev. Greg Glatz said isolation has been hard on people, but his Christmas message is about finding light in the darkness.

“I think if you’re looking for light, find a connection. Reach out make a connection somewhere. Maybe that connection is on-line but just make a connection,” Glatz said.

Click to play video: 'Religious gatherings in Ontario face restrictions, but not hard limits'

Religious gatherings in Ontario face restrictions, but not hard limits

Religious gatherings in Ontario face restrictions, but not hard limits

“I think the light is found in connection. We see our work as helping to connect to God and to each other, to connect to their true selves and to connect to creation. Any way we can be making a connection in our lives is where we’re going to find the light.”

Story continues below advertisement

People attending places of worship in Alberta are not required to show proof of vaccination to attend.

McGrattan said he’s been encouraged by the number of people he’s seen reaching out to those who need help.

“People realize that they are blessed and they want to share that blessing with those who are less fortunate and that reality is always found at Christmas and despite the pandemic I find that it’s stronger than ever,” McGrattan said.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Most Popular

New Kahnawake project aims to protect Mohawk language

Staff at a newspaper in Kahnawá:ke, a First Nations community south of Montreal, are going a bit further with responsibility to their readers and...

Maritimers cheer as Canadian men score first World Cup goal despite loss

Maritimers came out in droves Sunday to watch Canada’s men’s soccer team take on Croatia at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The 2022 tournament marks...

Two Liberal MLAs depart New Brunswick politics

Two Liberal MLAs are leaving provincial politics. Daniel Guitard and Denis Landry are trading in their trips to Fredericton for a spot closer to home,...

Bride-to-be, honours student among 6 killed in Virginia Walmart shooting

A 16-year-old helping his family. A custodian and father of two. A mother with wedding plans. A happy-go-lucky guy. A longtime employee. That’s how friends...