A message from Fr Brendan Reed
A parish is first and foremost a community of faith centred around the Sunday celebration of the Eucharist. Sunday is the day of the resurrection. Sunday is the day that gives birth to the spirit filled community of believers, beginning with those who were the first witnesses to the resurrection. In the Christian tradition Sunday is a day like no other. Each Sunday is like a reprise of the great Easter Sunday when the Lord is raised from the dead and when the Christian community has new life breathed into it and lives again!
Any consideration around the re-opening of our Churches for the celebration of Eucharist flows from our understanding of the Sunday Eucharist, the Sunday assembly. Over the past two months we have continued to try to hold our Sunday Assembly together with a number of initiatives. We have and will continue to make our Sunday Eucharist available online for all those who are able to access it. Each Saturday just before 5.30 pm there are dozens of people waiting for our Masses to begin and as the weekend progresses more and more join us in a virtual assembly that celebrates the Sunday Eucharist. In addition, each weekend we have been posting Spending time with the Word of God for both adults and children. These resources lead members of our Sunday community through a reflection on the Sunday readings with time to reflect, pray and deepen our understanding of the Word of God. And as always we take the experience of our Sunday Eucharist out to those who are unable to be with us through the ministry of Communion to the Sick. Many of our Communion to the Sick ministers continue to make virtual contact with those in aged care as each week they lead Liturgies of the Word via phone, Skype or Zoom hook up.
The easing of restrictions around Covid-19 in relation to places of worship confronts us with a new challenge. Technically we could gather in groups of 10 and celebrate Mass. Members of the community could book in via Try Booking or our own local online booking portal. A group of 10 could meet at any time of the night or day on any day of the week to celebrate Mass. What would that do to our sense of Sunday and of our Sunday Assembly? How would we individually and communally honour the Lord’s day, keep holy the Sabbath?
We have decided at Camberwell, Balwyn and Deepdene to continue with our current practice for the next two weeks. We will continue to make our Sunday Mass available online. We will continue to send out Spending time with the Word of God for adults and children. And we will continue to invite all our parishioners, as much as they can, to keep Sunday as the day of the Lord.
We are also grateful that we are able to now celebrate funerals with 20 people in attendance indoors and 30 at the cemetery. We are happy that a couple of our weddings will proceed and that some baptisms can take place.
We look forward to the day when we can gather as a Sunday community in full. Until then we continue to do all that we can to enable the Lord’s day to be honoured and to nourish us along the way.
Fr Brendan Reed