Today has seen the tightening of COVID-19-related restrictions that had been previously announced by the NSW Government last week.
Because 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 has determined that the public health requirements demands the tightening of some restrictions in order to protect our community. While this tightening once again impacts on the life of our Church, and may be a disappointment to some, 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 announced tightening of restrictions will again come at a cost, but we must remain vigilant and disciplined in observing 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 a future easing of restrictions, and the opportunity to gather more freely as a worshipping community to 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 24 July
Amendments to the current Public Health Order have 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 as the lesser of allowing 4 square metres per person within the building, or 100 person.
The size of the Cathedral building means that we are able to have the full limit of 100 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 contact details that are required are defined as a) name, b) phone number or email address, and c) the time of arrival.
We will provide a Contact Form at the door to permit this, and we have also provided an ‘online’ version via SignIn.com.au which permits you to sign in via your mobile phone.
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
There is no 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 100 persons are at any particular Mass.
We ask those who are particularly at risk – the elderly, those with compromised health, those who are sick – to refrain from 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.