I am taking this opportunity today to speak to you personally as your Parish Priest at this difficult time in our nation and throughout the world.
Vatican 2 stated:
The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the people of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ.
Our hearts go out to those presently affected by the Corona virus and for all of us who are trying to navigate our lives in a time of uncertainty.
Bishop Anthony, in the light of this public health emergency, in order to contain the advance of this virus, has with a heavy heart made the decision to suspend all public Masses in the churches of Broken Bay until the situation changes. This situation has now reached a new stage with the further regulations that have come into place on Monday 23rd of March and now all of our church buildings must remain closed.
The Sacraments of Baptism, Marriage & the celebration of Funerals may still take place in our churches but only under very strict guidelines and with very limited numbers of people present. This can be organised through the parish office.
The physical distancing now required of us all is changing our way of life and it will be a difficult time ahead. We all need to play our part in containing the spread of this virus. We are reminded that while our church buildings are required to be closed, that the Church is first and foremost the people of God and not the buildings where we normally gather, so we can still be united spiritually in our prayers for each other.
The priests of the parish will continue to regularly celebrate Mass, though without a congregation, and can be contacted for the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick when required and we take it in turns being on call to Royal North Shore Hospital emergencies while we await the appointment of a new Chaplain.
Our parish office will continue to operate with its normal hours for now, unless the situation changes. It is best, if at all possible, to contact them at this time either on the phone or via email.
Our bulletins will be sent electronically to those who presently receive them and will be available each week on our parish website.
The priests of the parish will record a short Sunday Mass which will be available to watch from a link on our bulletin which is available on our website. You may wish to view this at the time when you normally come to Mass on a Saturday evening or Sunday or at any time when it is convenient.
While we are not physically able to gather as a parish at the moment, we none then less are encouraged to make holy the Sabbath day by having some quiet moments of prayer, reading the Scriptures of the Sunday Mass or by praying as a family.
The most important feast of the Church year, Easter, will certainly be different this year but even if we cannot gather as a community, we will still need to commemorate the death and celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus united in faith with our fellow parishioners.
Be assured of my thoughts and prayers in the difficult weeks ahead and I very much look forward to the day when we are once again able to gather again as a Christian community for the celebration of Mass and the Sacraments.