The Covid 19
Letter from the Victorian Catholic Bishops
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