Can I visit a church for private prayer?
Yes. From May 15 churches are opened for private prayer with 10 people permitted in the church at one time.
Can I attend Mass in the Church?
Yes. From May 15 Masses will be celebrated for congregations of up to 10 people.
Where can I watch Mass now that churches are open but only small numbers are permitted?
St Mary’s Cathedral will continue to live-stream the 10:30am Solemn Mass every Sunday while the restrictions continue as well as various other services throughout the week. Check the website for regular updates. https://www.stmaryscathedral.org.au/ Mass For You at Home is broadcast on Channel 10 each Sunday from 6am. There are several live-streaming services for daily Mass both locally and from around the English-speaking world.
Bishops and priests can still say Mass privately.
Can private Masses and religious gatherings occur outside churches?
Yes. Private Masses, prayer meetings and other religious activities “for very small groups” in people’s homes seem permissible subject to physical distancing, hygiene and related directives being observed.
Sunday observance and alternative devotions.
All but priests are dispensed from attending Sunday Mass, you can keep Sunday holy by setting aside some time for prayer at home, reading the Scriptures of the day, watching Mass on television or online and asking God for the graces you would normally receive in Holy Communion. Priests should celebrate daily Mass privately and offer it on behalf of those who cannot attend and for the whole nation.
Can a baptism be performed?
Yes. From May 15 baptisms can be performed with 10 attendees.
What about weddings?
Yes. From May 15 weddings are permitted but may only be celebrated with ten people plus the couple, the celebrant and assistant minister in attendance and subject to physical distancing and hygiene directives. The church should be closed once the limited participants have been admitted. Larger celebrations after the public emergency has passed (ie on the first anniversary) can be performed. However, now that wedding reception venues are closed, most weddings are being postponed until further notice.
Am I able to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation?
Yes. From May 15 First Rite Confessions can be celebrated in the church.
What if a loved one dies? Can I still have a funeral Mass?
Yes. From May 15 funerals may now be celebrated with 20 mourners indoors or 30 mourners outdoors in addition to the celebrant and undertakers in attendance and subject to physical distancing, hygiene etc. The church should be closed once the limited participants have been admitted. Grieving families could be promised a larger celebration after the public emergency has passed
How about the Anointing of the Sick?
Pastoral care of the sick, frail and elderly should as far as possible be undertaken by clergy. Our priests must follow the guidance of health care facilities, some of which may only allow their own chaplains to minister to those with COVID-19 since they receive intensive training regarding safety protocols. When anointing the sick, priests have been given permission to lay on hands above rather than upon the head to anoint and use a cotton wool ball, cotton bud or a protective glove which can be disposed of after a single use.
What if my child is scheduled to receive First Communion and Confirmation during this time?
First Communion might be postponed until family and parishioners can attend and Confirmation has been indefinitely postponed until the pandemic is over.