CNA—A Catholic diocese in Canada will be requiring proof of vaccination and identity verification for anyone age 12 or older to attend Mass or other events held at parishes.
“Effective October 22, 2021, it will be mandatory for all persons 12 and older wishing to attend Masses or Services in our churches to demonstrate proof of vaccination by using the Vaccine Passport: NLVaxPass or by showing proof of vaccination by presenting their QR code before entering our churches,” said an Oct. 15 letter from Bishop Robert Anthony Daniels of Grand Falls to the priests and pastoral leaders of the diocese.
The Diocese of Grand Falls is located in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Its territory is approximately half of the island of Newfoundland.
The province enacted its vaccine passport system on Oct. 22, requiring residents to download an app and present proof of vaccination to enter “non-essential businesses.”
Houses of worship, along with yoga studios, hair salons, bowling alleys, wedding receptions, indoor restaurants, bingo halls, bars, and hockey arenas are all locations where proof of vaccination is required.
Those who have recently turned 12 will have a three-month “grace period” to receive a COVID-19 vaccine before being subject to the vaccine passport system at churches, the diocese said.
Per Bishop Daniels’ letter, those wishing to attend Mass in the diocese have to download the NLVaxPass app, or print out a physical copy of their vaccine QR code to show the ushers before they can enter the church. A different app, NLVaxVerify, will be used by the ushers, greeters, or other volunteers to verify vaccination status upon entry.
Once vaccination status is verified, a person will then have to show an identification card to go to Mass. For anyone 19 or older, this must be a photo identification.
“The name on the identification must match the name on the COVID-19 Vaccination Record QR code or other form of proof of vaccination,” said Daniels. If the names and birthdays do not match, ushers are instructed to request an additional ID card.
Daniels said he had asked the province’s Ministry of Health and Community Services “to verify that this step will be necessary.”