Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday, that gatherings of 100 people will be permitted from noon Friday 29th May, a Pastoral letter from the New Zealand Catholic Bishops on the resumption of Masses and Liturgical Celebrations was received. This is available here.
The Bishops share our joy at soon being able to celebrate Eucharist together, but remind us that we still have to live under the restrictions that are there for the good of our vulnerable and elderly. Before we are able to celebrate Masses in the parish we have to first determine how the health and safety guidelines are to be kept.
- We are limited to one hundred people for Masses (it will not be possible to have 100 people in small venues such as the Cathedral Chapel and St Thomas More Church).
- Contact tracing must be put in place
- Physical distancing must be observed
- Health and safety requirements must be adhered to strictly
Your parish leaders have carefully considered what needs to be put in place and have determined that we need time to prepare for resuming Mass. Unfortunately we are unable to resume Masses this weekend. We are disappointed about this, but the safety of everyone is of primary importance, as is adherence to the NZ Government Guidelines for religious gatherings.
The Bishops have reiterated that until further notice all people continue to be dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass.
A key aspect for the parish to be able to offer Masses will be the availability of volunteers to assist with meeting hygiene and safety requirements, such as cleaning surfaces after Masses, physical distancing and keeping records of everyone who attends Mass. These and other arrangements must be in place before the Cathedral chapel and St Thomas More church can be opened for the celebration of Mass. We will be seeking volunteers shortly so that we can make the necessary arrangements and then communicate when Masses will be able to resume. In the meantime let’s remain united in prayer as we celebrate the birth of the Church at Pentecost.