Closure of all Broken Bay Parishes continues

9 July 2021

A message from Bishop Anthony Randazzo

As you are aware the COVID outbreak in Sydney has necessitated the extension of the current Stay at Home order for the Greater Sydney Area, including Central Coast, Blue Mountains and Wollongong through to at least 11:59pm Friday 16 July 2021, as well as a tightening of the conditions of the order.

With the announcement of the continuation of the Stay at Home Order, I ask that all our churches in Diocese of Broken Bay remain closed. The obligation for the faithful to participate in Sunday Mass (can.1247) remains lifted for the people of Broken Bay for the duration of this Stay at Home Order. I will review the situation as we approach 16 July or if the stay at home order is lifted earlier. Weddings are not permitted to take place, and funerals will be limited to 10 people from 11 July.

I encourage parishes to continue or resume live streaming the Mass where possible.

If you are unable to live stream your own Masses, I encourage you to promote the livestream from our Cathedral on Sunday mornings at 9.30am as well as weekdays at 7.00am. Mass for You at Home is also readily available, which this weekend will be celebrated by our very own Fr Chima Ofor.

Our Parish Catechist coordinators have been informed that SRE will not take place in week 1, term 3. The Department has asked for our support in that we do not place any requests on schools during the first week of term 3, as they re-establish home schooling systems. Alison Newell has noted that CCD is currently working on new Learning from Home lessons in the event that the lockdown goes beyond the first week of school. They may be unable to have direct virtual access to students, but PowerPoint Learning from Home lessons are straightforward and user-friendly for children and parents. We know from last year that the Learning from Home resources were used by many families and schools right across NSW. We are negotiating with the Department of Education to advise parents through school websites that SRE lessons are available, should that become necessary.

Please also note that from Monday 12 July, it is mandatory for all offices in NSW to check-in all visitors and staff using a QR code. Although Churches, when they re-open, will not be held to this mandatory ruling, our parish offices must have a QR code. The QR code must be unique and should not be the same as the church QR code.

Finally, it is important to stress the importance of adhering to the conditions and the spirit of the Stay at Home order. We should not only be encouraging people to reduce their movements within the community, we should be modelling this with our parishioners, volunteers and staff.

I continue to hold you all in my prayer, asking that the Lord may keep us all safe during this troubling and unsettling time.