Today has seen the introduction of the next step in the easing of COVID-19-related restrictions that had been previously announced a few weeks ago by the NSW Government.
While the presence of COVID-19 in our community remains a threat to the health and safety of the Australian and NSW communities, the NSW Government is seeking to ease related restrictions as quickly and as safely as is possible. Many people, including many Catholics, would like the easing to take place much faster for any number of reasons, but we need to be conscious of more than just our own needs and wants in the face of the current pandemic event. As Christians, we should have not hesitancy in embracing personal sacrifice for the sake of the health and safety of the Australian community.
The latest easing of restrictions are to be warmly welcomed, but we must remain vigilant to our moral and legal obligation towards our brothers and sisters and ensure we do all that we must to restrict the further spread of COVID-19. We look forward to further easing of restrictions in coming months, and the opportunity to gather as a worshipping community and celebrate our liturgical life in all its fullness.
I take the opportunity to thank you for your cooperation during these difficult times and look forward to celebrating with you once more.
Fr Andrew Doohan
Easing Taking Effect 1 July
A new Public Health Order has been gazetted to give effect to the NSW Government announcement. The limit on the number of persons who can be present in the Cathedral is now calculated solely based on allowing 4 square metres per person within the building. There is now no longer an arbitrary limit; the only limitation is the size of the available space in the Cathedral.
We have ‘remeasured’ the available space in the Cathedral building, and can now advise that the upper limit on the number of persons who can be present in the Cathedral is 105 persons, which limit applies to all Masses and other liturgical celebrations, as well as the Cathedral’s availability for private prayer.
Opening Hours of the Cathedral
The Cathedral will continue to be open Monday through Friday from approximately 8am until approximately 5pm. You are welcome to attend the Cathedral during these hours for private prayer or a time of silence.
On weekends, the Cathedral will only be open when in use for Mass or other scheduled liturgies, generally from about one hour before the scheduled start time until approximately 30 minutes after conclusion. This decision is based on the increased need to clean the Cathedral after all liturgical celebrations, which naturally are increased over the weekend. We apologise for any inconvenience this might cause but feel this is the most appropriate course of action in the current circumstances.
Although the number of persons who can be in the Cathedral has increased, there is still a requirement for the collection of contact details for those who attend any liturgical celebration in the Cathedral (e.g. Mass, Weddings, Funerals, Baptisms, etc.). If a ‘discrete’ group attends, e.g. a family, a husband and wife, people from the same household, etc., only one (adult) member of the group is required to provide their contact details.
The requirements regarding cleaning, observing physical distancing, refraining from communal singing, etc. remain in place for the time being, as does the requirement to refrain from physical acts of devotion that involve touching or kissing icons or statues.
Because of the need to ensure health and safety, the previously advised adaptations to the celebration of Masses and other liturgical celebrations will continue to be observed.
To manage the entrance to and exit from the Cathedral, only one door – the side door closest to the Diocesan office building – will be used for the foreseeable future. This entrance has had a hand sanitiser unit mounted on the wall for convenience and provides adequate ‘desk space’ to allow for the recording of contact details. The use of one door will also permit the management of numbers within the Cathedral for Mass and other liturgical celebrations.
Requirements for Attending Mass
With the increase in the number of persons who can attend, we will discontinue the need to register in advance to attend Mass. If you wish to return to Mass, you are at liberty to do so, though there will still be the need to ensure that no more than 105 persons are at any particular Mass.
You may continue to provide your contact details in advance via the relevant page on the website, but there is no longer a need to register for each Mass. If you provide your contact details in advance, you need only ‘tick’ your name on the list provided rather than complete the Contact Details Form.
We ask those who are particularly at risk – the elderly, those with compromised health, those who are sick – to consider not returning to Mass for the sake of their own health. The dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass given by the Bishop remains in place in these circumstances.