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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