The Covid 19
As the restrictions are eased in Metro Melbourne, it’s my great joy to welcome our parishioners back to the church in limited numbers. We have been live-streaming our Sunday Mass since March 2020. Our Parish team has been very supportive and taken much effort with regard to live-streaming of the Masses and online Zoom reflection evenings. We all loved to come back to the church to celebrate our sacraments in person. However, a second wave of Covid-19 in Victoria made it impossible to do so till last week. It has been a difficult and challenging year for all of us. Even though we can celebrate Mass online through our parish YouTube channel, there is nothing like being together physically around the table of the Lord.
I assure you that you are in my humble prayers. We value our faith greatly and take every opportunity to practice and grow in it is vital to our Christian life.
As per the current regulations, we can have only 10 parishioners attending the Mass during weekdays and weekends. Please book online to attend these masses through our parish website. We shall let you know as soon as restrictions are eased further and therefore more people can attend.
I request for your kind consideration and understanding. This will enable us to welcome you back to our church safely. The church will be cleaned and sanitised before and after mass. Your safety is paramount.
Thank you very much God bless you all!
Fr Janeesh Jose
30 Oct. 2020
COVID-19 Restrictions update from the Diocesan Administrator
INFORMATION UPDATED: tUESDAY 4TH August 2020
Dear Fathers, Deacons, Chancery and Parish Staff,
We are mindful of the personal and pastoral challenges the ever changing COVID pandemic is placing upon you and your people. As you will be aware some parishes are now in Stage Four and others commencing Stage Three with the wearing of masks now necessary for all us.
Those under Stage Four (Local Government Areas of Cardinia and Casey) will be mindful of restrictions to their movement within 5 kilometres, essential shopping, exercise of one hour per day, no personal visitors other than approved essential workers and the nightly curfew from 8pm.
Stage Three restrictions (all other Local Government Areas in Diocese) require us to ‘stay at home’ unless for work, medical appointments, compassionate care of others or essential shopping.
The following might be of assistance to you in clarifying our situation under the religious/worship:
Pastoral Visitation to the Sick and Dying: Home visitation only for grave pastoral reasons. All hygiene precautions must be followed. Viaticum and anointing of the sick following the protocols of the relevant hospital and aged-care facilities.
Celebration of Mass = Priest and only those required to celebrate the liturgy: Priest (mask as you enter and removed during liturgy); Lector (may lower mask for reading); four additional people in the case of live-streaming all must wear masks; sanitiser must be used and available; social distancing required; usual hygiene measures must be undertaken following each celebration. COVID tracing details must be kept for all those who assist.
Baptisms: Must be postponed unless there is an urgent and grave pastoral reason (Can. 857;860).
Weddings: Stage Four zones cancelled except for compassionate grounds; Stage Three limited to 5 people (the couple, the witnesses and the celebrant).
Confirmation: Cancelled throughout this six-week period and until further notice.
Funerals: Limited in both Stage Four and Three zones to ten people plus those required to conduct the funeral.
Please note that Church buildings, adoration chapels and other buildings used for public prayer and religious services are to be closed for public safety.
Masses in family homes or other domestic settings are not permitted in this period.
Those parishes which have pastoral responsibility for hospitals and aged-care facilities are encouraged to make contact directly with the appropriate management to assess expectations and requirements. Given the high risk to the aged and vulnerable many facilities have introduced a total lock-down to external visitors; however, it may be possible to speak with parishioners via the telephone to provide prayer and reassurance.
We appreciate the above restrictions will place particular demands upon the grieving and your ability to engage with people as you would prefer. We are all mindful of our shared efforts to which we have been called to aspire in the hope the measures introduced will significantly reduce the community spread of the virus.
Thank you for your constant witness to your people and one another.
May Our Lady of Perpetual Help, intercede for us.
Fr Peter Slater
UPDATE: COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS UPDATES FOR PARISHES FROM FR. DENIS O'BRYAN
INFORMATION UPDATED: tUESDAY 7TH jULY 2020
Dear Fathers, Deacons, Rev Sisters, Parish Staff, Parishioners
I wish to advise that based on the advice of the Chief Health Officer, Stage 3 “Stay at Home” restrictions will be reinstated across metropolitan Melbourne from 11:59 pm on Wednesday 8 July. These Restrictions apply to our parishes within the Casey and Cardinia Local Government areas.
The restrictions for City of Casey and Cardinia Shire are as follows:
· If you live in these areas, parishioners cannot attend a religious service. Online streaming of a service is allowed and restricted to the priest and those necessary for the ceremony (e.g. deacon, server, reader)
· Weddings can have a maximum of five people (the couple, two witnesses and the celebrant).
· Funerals will be restricted to 10 mourners plus the people required to conduct the funeral.
For all our other parishes within Baw Baw Shire, Wellington Shire, Bass Coast Council, East Gippsland Shire, South Gippsland Shire and Latrobe City, at present your restrictions remain as follows:
· Places of worship can open for private worship or small religious ceremonies (Mass) for up to 20 people in each separate area
· Up to 20 people, in addition to the celebrant and couple getting married, can attend a wedding. If a wedding is held in a private residence, it will be limited to the members of the household, five attendees, plus the celebrant.
· Up to 50 people can attend a funeral in addition to the celebrant and other funeral staff. If a funeral is held in a private residence, it will be limited to the members of the household, five attendees plus the celebrant and other funeral staff.
Staff are encouraged to continue working from home.
Please maintain a high level of cleaning and sanitising.
As always we urge parishes to use common sense when carrying out activities. If you are unwell, you should stay at home. If you have symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19), however mild, you should get tested. Its up to all of us to make this work.
Fr Denis O’Bryan
Delegate of the Diocesan Administrator
Diocese of Sale
(03) 5622 6690
UPDATE: GENERAL GUIDELINES COVID-19
Implications for the Catholic Diocese of Sale
INFORMATION UPDATED: FRIDAY 28TH MAY 2020 2.30PM
Letter from the Victorian Catholic Bishops - May 13th 2010
Further Thoughts / Anticipated Questions
The decision about having parishioners attend Mass is one for pastors to make.
Keep in mind the following:
Social distancing is to be observed. That means 1.5 metres between people. This could be by ensuring every second pew is empty. Members of a household can be nearer.
It also means restricting those present to 10, plus those required, such as: a celebrant, a deacon, an altar server, 1/2 readers, a musician and singer, and those needed to record / broadcast the service. The total number must not exceed those allowed by the 4 square metre requirement.
Baptisms may be celebrated with up to ten present. Only one child per ceremony (unless siblings), refresh the water, use cotton buds dipped in the oil bottle rather than an oil stock. Weddings can include ten guests and funerals in a church can have twenty.
Signage will be needed, for example: to indicate entrance and exit (which must be kept separate), to indicate the maximum number allowed to be present, to keep people apart (as in many shops). Signs could indicate which pews should be empty.
Beware of people bunching up near doorways, or in coming to communion, or going to collection bowls. Collection bowls should not be passed from one person to another, they should be in an obvious place near the sanctuary and people could be invited to make their offering during the mass or beforehand or after.
Any socialising must observe the restrictions; refreshments should not be offered.
Take care with the giving of Communion, which can only be on the hand.
A record of attendees is to be kept, including name, contact information and time present.
There should be cleaning of hard surfaces, such as on top of seats and door handles after each Mass. Hospital grade or anti-viral disinfectant should be used. Allow an hour between masses for this cleaning to be done. This may affect your Mass times.
Churches should not be open unless someone to monitor and record attendance is present.
Rev Peter Slater
Delegate Of Diocesan Administrator, Sale
Letter from Fr. Janeesh Jose
We are all aware of the recent easing of some of the restrictions by the Victorian Government which were placed from mid-March to fight against the spread of COVID-19. We must abide by the current Government restrictions that are still in place.
Some of them are: Churches may be re-opened but there must be provision for the collection of contact details, strict monitoring of numbers, ongoing hygiene requirements, publicising the scheduled times for private worship, and a limit of 10 people for public worship.
At St Patrick’s, we are working on how to implement these requirements in opening of our church for private and community prayer.
Please note that social distancing rules apply for all gatherings in the Church. Please read the additional instructions given from our diocese when we open the church for private and public worship.
The parish team is looking at various ways to open the church for private and public worship to start in two weeks’ time. Since we need to limit our number of attendees to 10, we are looking at some online platform to register the attendance.
Hope and pray that we shall get over this difficult time with God’s help and more understanding.
Fr Janeesh Jose