READ: Letter from the Bishops of Victoria regarding Coronovirus: March 19, 2020
"While public celebrations of Mass are suspended, our common work for the Gospel does not cease. In fact, this is a time for us all to re-engage in our mission to share Christ, in thoughtful and appropriate ways, with those in most need."
A new rhythm to our family lives’: Archbishop Peter Comensoli’s message to school parents and carers
With Term 1 school holidays beginning early this year, Archbishop Peter wrote a special message to all parents, carers, and staff to assure him of his support and encourage them to think creatively about adjusting to “a new rhythm to our family lives, and to find the true heart of our domestic Church.” Parents are encouraged to keep an eye on the Catholic Education Melbourne website and this webpage for updates.
A Message from Archbishop Peter A Comensoli
Guidelines in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
ON this Feast Day of St Joseph, (March 19) Archbishop Comensoli has written to all the faithful of Melbourne to assure them of his ongoing support and prayers during this time of uncertainty. In these days of increased awareness of the risks associated with COVID-19 (Coronavirus), the Archbishop implored the community of faithful to be patient, prayerful and resilient.
Suspension of Public Masses: Effective March 18, 2020
The Bishops of Victoria have immediately (March 18, 2020) suspended all public Masses in Victoria until further notice.
To ensure the protection of our people who are at high risk and to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the following preventative measures should be implemented and appropriately communicated to the congregation and the broader Catholic community.
Victorian Government declares State of Emergency
GIVEN the recent developments in regards to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the following advice is provided for parishes in regards to the regular assembly of large groups for liturgical celebrations. This advice should be considered alongside local and national health guidance, including from the Commonwealth Department of Health and is consistent with the Catholic Church’s prerogative to protect those who are most vulnerable.
Based on the expert medical advice of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), Commonwealth, State and Territory governments have provided public advice against holding non-essential, organised public gatherings of more than 500 people from Monday March 16, 2020. The recommendation to advise against non-essential, organised public gatherings of more than 500 people is precautionary and designed to reduce community transmission of COVID-19 in Australia.
The advice from the AHPPC was that this measure will slow the increase in the number of new cases, given community transmission in Australia is increasing. Essential services such as schools, workplaces, hospitals, public transportation, domestic travel and universities as well as public transient places such as shopping centres will not be impacted.
- Individuals should consider their own health, including any potential to infect others with a contagious disease, before attending any public liturgical celebration.
- Sufficient and accessible preventative supplies to reduce the spread of COVID-19 (e.g. provision of hand washing facilities or hand hygiene products, bins, disposable facemasks);
- Posters and Notices should be displayed and circulated stating any guidance or changes in practice. Visit https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus for PDF signs created by the Victorian Department of Health in a variety of languages.
- Implement cleaning measures before, during and after gatherings with a focus to the cleaning of commonly touched surfaces (i.e. door handles, light switches, musical instruments, desks, keyboards etc.);
- Consider alternative options for thanksgiving collections that do not require passing of containers (e.g. leaving collection).
The Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne will continue to monitor advice from health authorities and will provide further updates as required.
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Resource: A Prayer to St Joseph, the Great Protector
Help us by your prayers at this time of trial.You kept Jesus and Mary under your watchful care:
may your prayers assist our local Church to respond to those in need.You taught the Christ Child your trade and prayers:
help us to follow his example of love.You were part of God’s plan for all humanity:
assist us to be vigilant and responsible this day.You spent your life in service:
may we be mindful of others, particularly the elderly and vulnerable, caring for them in these difficult days.You trusted in the clear primacy of God over all history and every situation: help us to grow in faith and pray to the Father, Thy will be done.