ALL PARISH MASSES CANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE – BISHOP BRIAN MASCORD.
Our diocesan implementation of step one
DIRECTIVES FOR EASING OF COVID–19 RESTRICTIONS
15 MAY 2020
My brothers and sisters
COVID 19 remains present in the community and is highly infectious. We need to continue to act with prudence, calm and hope. The NSW government has announced today that certain restrictions are being eased. The purpose of today’s communication is to direct you as to how we will implement this in our diocese.
Believing it to be the more prudent course of action at this time, and given the limitations on the number of people who could attend and the associated logistics, I have determined that the public celebration of Mass will remain suspended and churches will remain closed. This will be reviewed in two (2) weeks. The previously communicated dispensation of the faithful of the Diocese from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains in place.
This decision has been made for the safety and wellbeing of all involved – parishioners, clergy, parish staff and wider community. Therefore the current directives remain in place, except for the the changes in relation to the attendance numbers for weddings and funerals:
- Weddings are limited to no more than ten (10) guests plus the couple, celebrant and assistants.
- Funerals are limited to no more than twenty (20) mourners indoors and thirty (30) mourners for outdoor ceremonies excluding celebrants, funeral directors and assistants.
The government requirements for hygiene practices and physical distancing guidelines of one person per four square metres must still be adhered to at all times.
Please support your priests in understanding the need to comply with these directives so that we can act in a unified manner across the diocese. Again, I emphasise that this current situation will be reviewed in two (2) weeks. I will be communicating with you during this period of time to assist you in preparing for the next steps in this process.
I understand that this time has been challenging in many ways, however, it has also proven to be a time of grace and opportunity. I therefore encourage you to continue to engage with your parish through means such as live-streaming and other initiatives that have been implemented in the life of your community.
Yours in Christ
|Most Rev Brian G Mascord DD
Bishop of Wollongong
15 May 2020
Message from Fr. Patrick Vaughan PP
Planned Giving envelopes
Please remember that we don’t currently have any facility for receiving your weekly planned giving envelopes. These contributions are vital for the running of our parish, so we ask that you hold them until things return to normal. Alternatively, you can contribute via Direct Debit by following this link: https://www.dow.org.au/plannedgiving/
(These directives replace all other directives issued up to the 15 May 2020)
Effective Midday 23 March 2020 in the Diocese of Wollongong:
- Public Masses and liturgies—both indoor and outdoor—are suspended until further notice.
- Mass will continue to be said privately by priests throughout the diocese on behalf of the faithful on a daily basis.
- The faithful can keep holy their Sunday by setting aside some time for prayer at home, reading the Scriptures of the day, watching Mass on television or online, and asking God for the graces they would normally receive in Holy Communion (canon 87 §1 , canon 1248 §2).
- Church buildings, adoration chapels and other church buildings used for prayer and religious services are to remain closed from midday on Monday, 23 March 2020.
- Priests should consider continuing to publish their weekly parish bulletin online with advice and a weekly homily/reflection.
Holy Communion is not to be given to anyone, including the sick, except as Viaticum for the dying.
- Sunday Mass and Holy Week services will be celebrated privately by the bishop and made available on the diocesan website from the fifth Sunday of Lent (29 March 2020).
Baptisms should be delayed. If there is a risk of death, the child should be baptised in accordance with social gatherings limited to 2 persons.
The Sacrament of Confession will be suspended during this time of pandemic. Physical and moral impossibility excuses a person from confession, in which case reconciliation may be attained by other means, for example an act of perfect contrition. (Canon 960) An act of perfect contrition can be made by saying these or similar words, “My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. I should love you above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin”.
SACRAMENTAL PROGRAMS AND CELEBRATIONS OF THE SACRAMENTS
Preparation for and celebration of First Reconciliation, Confirmation and First Communion for children should be postponed until the pandemic is over.
Weddings are limited to no more than ten (10) guests plus the couple, celebrant and assistants. The government requirements for hygiene practices and physical distancing guidelines of one person per four square metres must still be adhered to at all times.
Funerals are limited to no more than twenty (20) mourners indoors and thirty (30) mourners for outdoor ceremonies excluding celebrants, funeral directors and assistants. The government requirements for hygiene practices and physical distancing guidelines of one person per four square metres must still be adhered to at all times.
ANOINTING OF THE SICK
The Sacrament for the Anointing of the Sick will continue. However, for the protection of our most vulnerable parishioners, clergy have been given revised instruction on how to proceed.
Clergy should only visit the sick or infirm with COVID–19 in a hospital or aged care facility if requested by the patient, family or hospital personnel. Clergy are requested to contact hospital personnel to confirm that the appropriate precautions are met prior to administering the sacraments.
COMMUNION TO THE SICK
Holy Communion is not to be given to anyone, including the sick, except as Viaticum for the dying. If Viaticum for the dying is celebrated this is done according to the procedures for the anointing of the sick.
OTHER MINISTRIES TO BE SUSPENDED
Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion are not to take Holy Communion to the sick.
All parish meetings are to be suspended at this time.
SOCIAL DISTANCING AND HYGIENE
All parishes and parishioners are required to follow social distancing and hygiene guidelines as provided by the health authorities, including:
- Good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene.
- Distancing of at least one person per 4 square metres
- Self isolation if diagnosed with COVID–19 or when exposed to symptomatic or diagnosed COVID–19 persons.