London Diocese bishop stresses physical distancing Easter weekend
LONDON, ONT. -- The Diocese of London is turning to electronic platforms to celebrate the liturgy of holy week.
Bishop Ronald Fabbro says it begins on Good Friday where the church won't be doing the veneration of the cross.
Traditionally in Roman Catholic churches, the clergy and congregation approach a cross or crucifix one by one and offer a gesture of respect to all that it represents.
Fabbro will do the service privately and then at 3 p.m. it will be available YouTube to anyone in the diocese.
Having people celebrate Easter and Passover from the comfort of their own home is something the Middlesex-London Heath Unit has been preaching for a few weeks now.
"Skype, Zoom, or other platforms allow you to connect for social gatherings," says Dr. Chris Mackie, Middlesex-London Health Unit's medical officer of health and CEO.
"In terms of travel in Ontario, Easter is a major driver of family gatherings," Mackie added.
"It's concerning because it brings together multiple generations. Your elderly relatives are at the greatest risk. Please find an alternate way, whether it's online or phone call. If you are visiting your elderly relatives this weekend, you are putting them at risk of coronavirus," he says.
Mackie understands how difficult it can be to be away from family during holiday weekends. However he says the guidelines around physical distancing are essential to limit the risk of contracting the virus.
London Mayor Ed Holder agreed during a video conference earlier this week.
"If you love your friends, keep them alive by physical distancing."
Police are also asking everyone to abide by the province’s emergency orders.
"This was definitely not how I planned to spend my Easter weekend, but it’s important that we all stay home in order to save lives," says London Police Service chief Steve Williams.
Police also remind the public that they will be watching for impaired drivers.
“If you enjoy celebrating on long weekends by consuming alcohol or drugs, please do so in the safety and comfort of your home. Although there are less vehicles on the roads during this time, police will not be tolerating dangerous or impaired driving,” a Woodstock police news release says.
Fabbro says not gathering for Easter on Sunday will be "quite painful for our people" but advises everyone to remain home this weekend.
"Please respect that we aren't supposed to be gathering with more than five people," says Fabbro.
"On Good Friday, it's a sacrifice we all have to make for the common good."