Churches cancel funerals, Easter and Sunday services
EASTER Catholic celebrations as we know it are cancelled, with Sunday mass and public Easter liturgies not going ahead.
The Catholic Bishop of Lismore, Gregory Homeming, sent a decree to all parishes in the Lismore Diocese regarding mass closures to limit the spread of coronavirus in Northern NSW.
After the Government banned indoor gathering of 100 people or more, Bishop Homeming
said he was obliged to go ahead with the changes:
Easter: All public Easter liturgies during Holy Week are cancelled: Palm Sunday and Holy Thursday Mass of the Last Supper, Good Friday (Stations of the Cross) and the Mass of the Crucifixion, the Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday, plus Easter Sunday Mass are not going ahead.
Funerals: "Since we have no control over the number attending funerals", there will be no funeral liturgies in church. Prayers may be said at the place of burial.
Weddings: "You should ensure that no more than 100 people, including yourself, attend at weddings. In the present circumstances, I would encourage wedding services in preferences to a nuptial mass".
Sunday Mass: From and including this weekend, there will be no Sunday Masses in the Diocese and the Sunday obligation for the faithful is suspended.
Confirmation, First Communion and First Reconciliation: postponed until further notice.
Chrism Mass: The blessing of the oil for mass done during Holy Week will go ahead but it will not be public.
Churches: Churches may remain open for the faithful to come and pray.
"Let us continue to pray for the protection of our people and the end of this virus," Bishop Homeming said at the end of his decree.
ALL public church gatherings will be cancelled until further notice.
The Bishop of Grafton, Dr Murray Harvey, announced that all churches in the Diocese of Grafton will cease offering public worship from Monday, March 23.
While this is for an indefinite period, the situation will be reviewed every fortnight.
This does not include Anglican schools and only applies to public worship in churches.
The closure has been timed so that parishes can inform their parishioners at worship this coming Sunday (March 22) of the forthcoming closure and provide details of any arrangements for the ongoing provision of ministry including pastoral care.
Some parishes may choose to cease public worship with immediate effect.
Dr Harvey said that by temporarily pausing public services of worship, the church is demonstrating its responsibility to the wider community in trying to minimise the spread of the virus in our communities.
"As a Diocese we want to cooperate with NSW Health and the wider community in taking immediate and targeted action to contain the virus through early identification of cases, the implementation of social distancing and exclusion strategies as well as the ceasing of non-essential gatherings".
Advice will be given about how to access Christian worship and resources online.