Parishes in our Diocese
From Monday 1 June 2020, the NSW Government has further lifted COVID-19 restrictions.
The second phase of changes sees up to 50 parishioners at one time allowed to attend Mass and enter a place of worship. The limit for indoor funerals will increase to 50, and to 20 for weddings.
Each parish has developed a plan to manage the needs of the parishioners, while adhering to current NSW Government regulations.
SEE AVAILABLE MASS TIMES IN YOUR PARISH HERE
INFORMATION ABOUT MASS SERVICES AVAILABLE ONLINE CAN BE FOUND HERE
Directives for all churches and liturgies from 1st June 2020 until further notice:
- Current regulations should be posted near church doors and on websites, social media platforms etc.
- Churches in the Diocese of Bathurst will open at times published and, subject to distancing requirements, may have up to 50 people inside at a time for private prayer, Confessions, Masses, Funerals, Eucharistic Adoration, Rosary in common. 20 attendees are presently permitted at weddings.
- Very small churches or chapels with a surface area for the congregation below 200 square metres must reduce their congregational limit to allow 4 square metres per person.
- At-risk parishioners have been exhorted not to attend: authorities have directed that any unwell priest, staff member, volunteer or parishioner stay away; they recommend that people with co-morbidities (e.g. compromised immune or respiratory systems) and those over 70 years of age/elderly exercise particular caution.
- Booking places for Masses is generally no longer required. Check with your local parish to confirm the process in place.
- Masses will be resumed and in some places they might be multiplied; nonetheless, even were Sunday Masses multiplied, many of the faithful will be unable to attend and so all are dispensed from attending Sunday Mass.
- On entering the church, each attendee’s contact details should be recorded (name and phone number or email address) and the attendee should certify that they are not unwell or high risk; no record should be kept of why the person entered the church.
- Previous instructions on spatial distancing still apply and have been amplified: Pews will be marked where people should sit on every second row and at least 1 1⁄2m from each other in all directions so that at least 4 square metres is allowed for each person; other pews/seats might be removed or cordoned off; similar notices should be placed on pews outside confessionals; people should be directed to maintain spatial distancing when queueing to enter or leave church, for Holy Communion or Confession; spatial distancing should also be observed by ministers in the sanctuary.
- Previous instructions on maximising hygiene still apply.
- Because of possible risk of aerosol transmission, congregational singing is prohibited at this time; a cantor or small choir should provide the music if any (or a recording where this is not possible); any singer(s) should be positioned at least 3 metres away from the congregation and each other.
- For the time being, Holy Communion shall be distributed and received on the hand only; the Chalice is reserved to the clergy.
- Celebrants and people should minimize the time they are gathered together.
- Alternatives to passing collection plates include a plate left at each door with clarity about its purpose, tap-and-go plates, and encouragement to use direct debit are alternative options.
- Previous advice on the pastoral care and practical support for elderly and shut-in parishioners, live-streaming of Masses, on-line prayer groups, discussion groups, youth groups and catechesis, parish websites and e-bulletins, continues to apply; the various online resources available through the Diocese previously advised continue to be available.