Joy as churches open for prayer and sacraments
Churches across the state opened their doors this morning for limited Masses after nearly eight weeks of being forced to close due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In Sydney the dean of St Mary’s Cathedral, Father Don Richardson, welcomed 10 worshippers for a 7am Mass. Shortly before, he told members of the media who were assembled outside that the moment was “something really special” for Catholics.
It is nearly eight weeks since all places of worship closed on 23 March at the request of government officials responding to the global pandemic.
Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP also welcomed phase one of the easing of restrictions in NSW from today, saying it will be a “great relief” for Catholics to be able to visit and pray in their churches again.
“Having our churches open is essential and whilst there will still be restrictions on the number of people who can gather it will be a great relief for Catholics to be able to visit and pray in their churches again,” the archbishop told The Catholic Weekly.
“We also hope that it won’t be too long before we can celebrate Masses with larger congregations.”
Catholics urged to join national online register
With strict limits on the reopening of churches, a national registration website has been set up allowing Catholics to register their attendance online at massregister.com.au.
The Government’s 3-step framework for relaxing restrictions released on 8 May requires that the contact details of every person in attendance at a religious gathering is recorded.
Catholics are encouraged to register their attendance and list the parishes they usually attend at the website which has been developed by the Archdiocese of Sydney to streamline the process.
It will also allow people to keep in touch with their local parish, to be alerted when Mass is available and other times it can be visited.
“By registering your contact details and the parish/es you usually attend, you are helping to keep you and your fellow parishioners safe and will make it easier to notify you if you have come into contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19,” says the information posted on the Mass Register website.
Bishops and priests are urging parishioners to take every precaution and heed Government guidelines as churches are re-opened.