As Melbourne emerges from its sixth lockdown today, people of faith will be able to physically visit their local parish and participate in the sacraments for the first time in months. Source: Melbourne Catholic.
What started as a snap lockdown on August 5, lasted almost three months and earned Victoria the unenvied title of the longest cumulative lockdown in the world.
The latest step in Victoria’s roadmap to reopening means that places of worship can host 20 fully vaccinated people indoors and 10 people outdoors for people whose vaccination status is unknown. These restrictions are expected to ease further come November 5, when it is projected that Victoria will reach 80 per cent vaccination. At that point, places of worship will be allowed to welcome up to 150 fully vaccinated attendees indoors and 500 outdoors.
The reopening of church doors comes as a welcome relief for parish priests longing to reconnect with their people.
“We can finally begin to gather in our church for prayer and worship again,” said Fr Michael Gallacher, parish priest of St Roch’s in Glen Iris, in a letter sent to parishioners yesterday.
He said their current plan is intended for the fortnight between October 22 and November 5, and is “designed to give as many people as possible the opportunity to pray in our church and access the Lord in the Eucharist, within the current limits.”
In the south-eastern suburb of Mount Waverly, Fr Justel Callos said he and the parish team will set up canopies in preparation for outdoor Masses this weekend. His parish is offering four outdoor Masses across the weekend and one indoor Mass for those with an unknown vaccination status.
Not every parish will be reopening this weekend, however, with some opting to wait until the weekend of November 6-7, when a greater number of parishioners will be able to gather indoors.
Churches to reopen in Melbourne from Friday (Melbourne Catholic)