A Catholic priest at Holy Spirit Parish in Calgary tested positive for COVID-19 after saying four Masses in one day to accommodate more churchgoers amid restrictions. He currently is suffering from flu-like symptoms, the Calgary Herald reported.
Fr Pilmaiken Lezano said Masses at 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Dec 12, and at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. on Dec. 13, and on Dec. 22 Calgary Herald reported that he had contracted the virus.
Another priest, Holy Spirit Parish’s pastor, Fr David Meadows, who lives with Rev. Lezano, has also been quarantined though he tested negative for the virus.
The Holy Spirit Parish parish website said the two priests are doing well, and explained that congregants were wearing masks and socially distancing for all four Masses.
The Vicar General of the Diocese of Calgary said communicants receive only in the hands and then step aside, taking off their mask, to receive the Body of Christ only and not the Blood.
As of Dec. 13, the government of Alberta only allows churches to be filled at 15 percent of fire-code occupancy, and requires everyone in the church to wear a mask.
Holy Spirit Parish has asked its parishioners to make sure they haven’t contracted Covid-19 as well, telling them to keep an eye on whether they have symptoms, and if they do to contact Alberta Health Services to arrange for testing.
The Calgary diocese says they not received any reports of any other positive Covid-19 cases from parishioners.
Nonetheless, the parish cancelled Masses the following weekend and weekdays due to insufficient volunteers, while the diocese has said it will supply priests on Christmas and New Year’s.
On Tuesday, Alberta reported 1,021 new cases of Covid-19 and 11 additional deaths, according to Calgary Herald