For many Catholics across Sydney churches reopening, even only for small numbers, is the answer to all their prayers.
Once again, we can gather with our parish community and worship God, receive the sacraments, and continue to develop our faith.
For now, the restrictions on Mass attendees and number of Mass times available means it could still be a while before you have a chance to return to Mass.
You can visit a church though. Throughout the day, Parishes are allowed to open their doors for up to 10 people at a time. While you may not be able to receive the sacraments, there are still plenty of benefits to visiting Church.
Here are 10 reasons you should visit your church today.
1. Reconnect with God.
Fr. Don Richardson of St. Mary’s Cathedral celebrated the first public Mass in more than 6 weeks at 7am on Friday 15 May. He told the 10 people gathered there, “God is everywhere, but He is in Churches in a special way.” Visiting and sitting in adoration at church allows you to connect with God in a way that has been missing from our lives for more than two months.
2. Reconnect socially
Just as we have been away from God’s house for two months, we have been away from our community too. Many of us have been lucky enough to be able to stay in touch through technology, but there is nothing quite like seeing the special people in your life in person.
3. Reconnect as a family
What a wonderful reason to get out of the house as a family. Take a trip together to your church and sit together in prayer. Use it as an opportunity for a family outing, stopping in on your way to get a coffee or a meal.
4. Iron sharpens iron.
We’ve all been doing our best under the circumstances, but we know our faith thrives when we can gather together. As Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” By visiting church, seeing priests, friends and other parishioners, we can create sparks like iron on iron, reigniting and invigorating our faith.
5. It’s a chance to feel reverence.
Life is chaotic enough under normal circumstances, but in a time of uncertainty and constant change we could all benefit from some peace, quiet and reverence. When we attend a church, we’re transported to a place of worship and peace, a place of calm and a place of joy.
When we attend a church, we’re transported to a place of worship and peace, a place of calm and a place of joy.
6. Find deeper meaning
Church is where we find the deeper meaning in our life. We’ve been away for so long, in a time when all has felt hopeless, that we all need reminding. Maybe the sacraments aren’t available, but quiet prayer and conversation with God is exactly what we need.
7. Church is where you’ll find priests.
Thank God for priests! Where would we be without them and without their guidance, hope and optimism? For many, listening to a daily or weekly homily via a life stream service has been the only connection they’ve had to their parish priest. A trip to church, even without Mass, is an opportunity to run into your parish priest and speak with them, learn from them, and be encouraged by their strong faith and positivity.
8. A return to normalcy
Lucky is he who hasn’t had his life turned upside down during the coronavirus pandemic. We’re all living through an unprecedented disruption to our lives. Returning to church for some time of quiet prayer marks the beginning of the long road back to ‘normal’ life.
9. To teach your kids
Two months is a long time for a child, and it’s easy for them to lose sight of why our faith is important. Taking them to Church teaches them that this isn’t just something we do on Sunday’s. Taking them to Church for some quiet prayer can help them understand the wonderful nature of our Catholic faith.
10. Because you can.
There are many people around the world today (and many people throughout history) who live in circumstances preventing them from visiting church. Though they would love nothing more than to go back to church, they can’t. In Sydney, we’re lucky enough to be able to start the reopening process. We can visit Church again, and if none of the other reasons on this list have convinced you to go then think of this, we can go for those who can’t.
Pray for the Church and the global community. Go for those who can’t.
We can go and pray for those who have not been as lucky. We can go and pray for the families unable to see each other. We can go and pray for those who have passed away, and those who were unable to properly mourn a loved one. Pray for those who missed funerals and baptisms. Pray for those who had their First Reconciliation, First Communion or their Confirmation postponed. Pray for the priests around the world who have been cut off from their people and for the Christians without access to technology allowing them to join Mass via live stream. Pray for the Church and the global community. Go for those who can’t.