COVID-19: Bishop's Letters and Links

May 12, 2020

Pastoral Note and Appointment Announcement
As we continue in our current reality of health restrictions due to COVID-19 and as we reflect on our future possibilities, I would like to express my thanks to the priests, deacons and all the lay pastoral staff of the Diocese for their commitment to their ministries. Through social media, many have been able to provide Sunday Mass and other liturgies for the people of the Diocese. Many of you are also reaching out to your parishioners by telephone. All of these initiatives are very much appreciated and I thank you for your faithful commitment and perseverance. I know that many of you are celebrating anniversaries this month and next, please be assured of my prayers and best wishes.

The Diocese has been blessed over the past ten years with the dedicated ministry of Father Paul Abbass serving as Vicar General. Archbishop Dunn has expressed to me, his respect for Father Abbass’ ministry. As you may know, Father Abbass has asked to be relieved from all diocesan appointments for health reasons. With some reluctance, I have granted his request. He has assured me that he is willing to assist whenever possible, and I am truly appreciative.

After some reflection and input from the College of Consultors, I am pleased to announce that Father Thomas A. MacNeil has agreed to serve as our new Vicar General for the Diocese of Antigonish effective May 14, 2020 (Feast of St. Matthias, Apostle). I am looking forward to working with Father Tom and all of you, as we move forward amid these uncertain days of this COVID -19 pandemic.

Pope Francis has asked us to set aside Thursday, May 14th, as a day of Prayer, Fasting, and Acts of Charity. We join him in prayer, praying for an end to this pandemic. We pray for those who have died and we pray for those who are suffering, as well as for the front line workers who care for them.
We look forward to an end to this pandemic when we can gather in person again. God bless you for all that you do.

(Most Rev.) Wayne Kirkpatrick
Bishop of Antigonish



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From Bishop Wayne Kirkpatrick
March 25, 2020 (Annunciation of the Lord)

My Dear People,

I am grateful to our Clergy, as well as our diocesan and parish staff and to all the people of our Diocese who are working together. It is clear that our response to this coronavirus certainly brings out the best in people. We are blessed with such dedicated people who continue to minister to the people of our Diocese.

Following a Decree issued on March 19 by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Father Conrad Edwards, Chair of our Diocesan Liturgical Commission has assisted in the preparation of an update to our Pastors concerning Holy Week. We will postpone the Mass of Chrism but the Easter Triduum cannot be postponed. Pastors will celebrate Holy Week privately since we still cannot offer any public Masses and liturgies during this time.

Cathy Farrow, our Managing Director / Diocesan Financial Administrator has been in communication with other Financial Administrators from across the Atlantic Provinces. She has prepared a document to inform and assist our Pastors with financial impacts given the provincial state of emergency regulations.

It is clear that we need to stay home following the directives and guidelines of the Premier and the Nova Scotia Chief Medical Officer of Health, as well all official advisories from our federal and provincial governments.

While respecting the law and encouraging people not to gather, we are witnessing some novel ways to minister to people. We are so fortunate to have a Diocesan Mass for Shut Ins, those who are homebound. CTV has been hosting this Mass for 57 years now and currently Father Patrick O’Neil is the Director. We are likewise fortunate to participate in the National Catholic Broadcasting Council’s Daily and Sunday Televised Mass offered through Salt & Light which is now offered free until May 1st on all Canadian cable networks. A number of our parishes are also celebrating Mass through social media. Parishes are using creative ways to connect with the vulnerable to ensure that no one is completely isolated and alone. At various times, Pope Francis has asked us to offer prayers at the same time throughout the world.

This Season of Lent has been a world-wide time of Penance but we remain strong and determined through our common prayer. As a people of faith with the help of the Holy Spirit we will get through this together.

Bishop Wayne Kirkpatrick
Diocese of Antigonish

News and protocols to contain the COVID-19 virus are changing rapidly.
Following are some facts to assist:

“What media outlets are offering daily and Sunday mass”?  →  Mass on Salt & Light + Light TV (En)      La Messe sur TV Sel + Lumière (Fr)

From Bishop Wayne Kirkpatrick
March 18th, 2020

Televised Mass:

Salt + Light TV has communicated with us that they have made arrangements with cable companies across Canada (Rogers, Bell, Telus, Shaw Direct, Videotron) so that Salt + Light TV is available free of charge to all subscribers until 1 May 2020. This means that any person who subscribes to cable TV will be able to access Salt + Light TV and therefore the Daily TV Mass and Sunday TV Mass produced by National Catholic Broadcasting Council

Also, “La Messe du jour” that is produced and televised by Salt + Light TV six days a week from the crypt at Saint Joseph Oratory in Montreal will likewise be televised on Sundays now through arrangements with the Archdiocese of Montreal. Therefore, all may have access to televised Mass in both French and English seven days a week.

Salt + Light TV is televising the daily Mass celebrated by Pope Francis from Casa Santa Marta. This airs every day at 9:00 am and will be televised in both English and French.

Attached you will find a poster produced by Salt + Light TV that succinctly provides the Mass times on social media.

The channel number on each cable company that carries Salt + Light TV can be found at

Please note that the Daily TV Mass is available on other faith based television networks besides Salt + Light TV.  The various networks and Mass times can be found at

On a similar note, please note that the weekly (Sunday) showing of Le Jour du Seigneur (Radio Canada) will continue as always to provide Sunday Mass at its usual time and channel.

Resources for Mass:

The CCCB General Secretariat has received word from Novalis, Living with Christ and Prions en Église, that during this current health crisis, they are willing to post on their websites PDFs of the pages from Living with Christ and Prions en Église for each upcoming Sunday Mass, as well as for Daily Mass, so as to allow people to download them for free during this limited period of time – until 29 March; this offer will then be assessed based on the situation at that time These resources can help the faithful who follow Mass from their homes on TV or internet. At the very least, they can read the Scriptures and follow along on televised celebrations. The CCCB has given permission to Novalis to do so.

Please click on the following links for the English and French PDF versions of the Sunday Mass Readings and prayers from Novalis:

The approved version for Canada of the Scriptural texts for Mass are likewise readily available on the website for the Association épiscopale liturgique pour les pays francophones (AELF) at

From Bishop Wayne Kirkpatrick
March 17th, 2020

My dear people,

In facing the most serious health concerns of recent memory we are indeed living in troubled times but “Do not be afraid”.  We are not dealing with an unexpected tsunami but rather more with the rising waters of the coronavirus which threaten to overwhelm us and our well being if we do not take appropriate measures.  We need to flatten the wave and help slow the spread of this coronavirus called Covid-19.  If we have been following the news, we know the situation is very fluid with different rules across the country on different timetables. There have been a patchwork of policies and restrictions which seem to be changing on a daily basis with so many people looking for direction and reassurance.

What are we to do amid this turmoil?
We are all concerned about the most vulnerable, given their age and health concerns and this includes our clergy.  The medical advice we receive is to avoid gathering in large groups.  We do not want to overwhelm our health care system and so we must take all pre-cautions necessary.

We will follow the directives and guidelines of Nova Scotia Chief Medical Officer of Health. We will heed all official advisories, including the latest guidance from federal and provincial governments.  

For this reason, as Diocesan Bishop, after having consulted our Council of Priests and College of Consultors and the Bishops of Atlantic Canada, I am directing that all Sunday and Weekday Masses be cancelled effective immediately until further notice.   We cannot put a time frame on when the situation will improve.  

I ask each Pastor to celebrate privately Sunday Mass for intentions of their people.  I hereby dispense the faithful from the obligation to participate in the Sunday Mass until we are able to again assemble for the Lord’s Day in accord with directives from our health officials.  Daily televised Mass is offered as an alternative, as the faithful gather to pray in their homes.  Particular care should be given to ensure that the vulnerable are not alone. Parishes may explore creative ways to connect with the vulnerable through phone calls and visits where appropriate.

I do not believe it is prudent to keep our churches open since visitation by unknown people especially the ill and the vulnerable may also cause unnecessary risk of exposure since the churches are not cleaned daily.   All parish and diocesan meetings, events, celebrations, catechetical formation programmes and any other activities in the coming weeks should be cancelled until further notice. 

In compliance with federal and provincial health directives regarding the size of the crowd and personal distance between individuals, I direct the following:

Life will be different for a while from the way we live and especially not being able to worship in our churches, such challenging days actually brings out the best in people.  We will weather this storm through our common prayer and by working together. “Keep Calm and Carry On.”

(Most Rev.) Wayne Kirkpatrick
Bishop of Antigonish

MassforShut Ins

Mass for Shut-Ins is continuing to record its broadcast and will air Sundays, 11:30 am on CTV unils its regular season ends in May.   Recorded shows are available via our
Diocese of Antigonish YouTube Channel or the CTV Mass button on MyParish App


Daily Mass on Salt and Light:

Daily Mass on EWTN:


For updates and information on Covid-19:
Bishop's Letters and other links on Our Blog:

From Bishop Wayne Kirkpatrick
March 13, 2020

While our area is considered a low risk for the spread of the coronavirus, we should not be complacent. The province has recommended that public gatherings be less than 150 people and that anyone travelling from outside Canada should self-isolate for 14 days. We all need to be proactive and take responsible measures.

I invite all parishes to adopt the following measures:

o Remove the Holy Water from the fonts.
o Refrain from shaking hands at the Sign of Peace.
o Refrain from distribution of Holy Communion from the Chalice to all people including lay ministers.
o People should also be encouraged to receive Holy Communion in their hand and not on the tongue.

Remind your people that they are excused from their Sunday obligation of attending Mass if they are unwell. This same principle applies to anyone with underlying medical conditions or compromised health issues who may be more vulnerable to illness if exposed to any virus.

Everyone is urged to practice good hygiene with proper hand-washing and sneezing or coughing into your sleeve and not your hands. Avoid touching your face. Avoid unnecessary contact with those who are ill.

While we continue to monitor the situation, and being attentive to the direction of our health care officials, we are not recommending any changes to the Mass schedules at this time.

We continue to pray for those affected by this coronavirus as well as all healthcare providers, caregivers and researchers.

Sincerely in Christ,

Bishop Wayne Kirkpatrick
Bishop of Antigonish

From Bishop Wayne Kirkpatrick
March 6th, 2020


As you are aware, active cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) worldwide have led to some understandable concern among the faithful.  As the local headlines indicate, testing is happening daily in Nova Scotia, but there are no positive caseshere.  As a local Church our goal is to act responsibly, based on credible information from reliable sources.

There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs. Take these everyday steps to reduce exposure to the virus and protect your health:

Regarding liturgical practices, local health officials have not indicated that it is necessary to alter current practices at this time. We can remind our people that receiving from the Cup is optional.  Parishes are encouraged to use the above information to remind parishioners about the importance of practicing healthy hygiene. Parishes should ensure that those distributing communion wash their hands before and after the distribution of communion (if you are able).  As we know exchanging a sign of peace may be done without shaking hands.

Please continue to pray for all those impacted by the coronavirus. Be assured that we will continue to monitor the situation as well as the advise of local health officials and keep you updated as appropriate.

Bishop Wayne Joseph Kirkpatrick


From the Nova Scotia Government:


From Ecclesiastical Insurance: