Staying Connected with your Parish while maintaining Physical Distancing
I write to you all during this extraordinary time when the global community is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. This week the Catholic Bishops of Victoria issued a pastoral letter indicating that public liturgies and celebrations of Mass be immediately suspended until further notice. The full letter of the Victorian Bishops is available in our churches or on the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne website. It also includes links for participating in Mass online.
While Masses are suspended, I want to assure you that this does not mean our parish is closed. Our churches will remain open and you are welcome to visit them for prayer and reflection during the week or on weekends. Each Sunday between 9.00 am and 12 noon we will have Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament; you are welcome to make a short visit to the Church during this time. In doing so, I remind you of the need for physical distancing, guidelines are provided by the health department.
Please be advised that the Parish Office remains open and you are able to contact our priests and staff. It would be good to phone ahead on 9816 9291 if you are planning to visit the Parish Office. If you are feeling unwell or feel it would be better to stay at home, then please do so. At the same time, if you are unwell or know someone who is unwell and would like a visit from a priest or a Minister of Communion to the Sick then please contact the Parish Office. If you are able to be on a short term data base to offer assistance to someone in need we would also like to hear from you.
For those parish groups who are continuing to meet, I would ask you to take the necessary precautions in relation to physical distancing. Where possible and appropriate you could consider online collaboration and communication.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge to all communities and I would like to suggest that it can also be an opportunity for us to show solidarity and support for one another. With many events and activities being cancelled or postponed it is also an opportunity to draw on the contemplative side of our tradition. We can learn to be silent and to be still. We can learn the art of just being around for each other. There is also an opportunity to practice solidarity, empathy and kindness. You can visit 1,000 ways to love your neighbour during coronavirus.
We are a Catholic parish community and we will be present with our community during this time. I invite you to stay with us, pray with us and be with us in a new way over the coming months. I will be increasing my use of electronic communication over the coming weeks to communicate with you and keep you up to date with parish life.
Thank you for your understanding of the current arrangements that we must put in place for the care and protection of all in our community.
Fr Brendan Reed, Parish Priest