Virus causes cancellation of Sunday Mass

Sunday Mass

With Sunday Mass suspended at least one venue more suspensions are likely to follow as the Catholic Church responds to the coronavirus.

The dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Auckland, Father Peter Tipene has already announced that he is suspending all Sunday Masses.

He says the 7 am and 12.15 pm weekday Masses will continue to be celebrated, as the threshold of 100 is not often passed at these Masses.

Thursday, the New Zealand Minister of Health, David Clark announced the cancellation of all indoor events of more than 100 people.

This will likely have significant country-wide implications not only for Sunday Masses but also for the likes of confirmations, first holy communion, funeral and marriage services.

Reacting to the Government’s decision, the Catholic Bishop of Auckland says he wants to keep people regularly informed of the measures the diocese is taking to keep us all safe.

“As we know, this is a rapidly-changing situation,” Dunn said on his Facebook page.

“We are carefully and calmly reviewing the advice from the Ministry of Health and will keep you informed of all decisions we have been obliged to make.”

Dunn said that while the Mass is the core and source of  Catholic identity, people who are ill, self-isolating or believe that attending Mass would put others at risk should stay at home.

He said such people in the Auckland diocese are dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass under these circumstances.

“Older adults, people with underlying medical conditions, and family members of such individuals should take special care in discerning Mass attendance.”

“At times like these, our faith will help sustain us, and united with Christ we are never alone. Just as Jesus will never abandon us, so too is the Church committed to walking alongside all who are distressed and suffering.”

Communications adviser for the NZ Catholic Bishops, David McLoughlin says the New Zealand Bishops will issue national guidelines in response to Thursday’s announcement.

The new measures announced by the government, do not apply to workplaces, schools, supermarkets or public transport.

In Australia, where the limit placed on indoor gatherings is 100, there has been a wide-spread cancellation of Sunday masses.

Many dioceses in the United States have stopped having Sunday mass.

The New Zealand restriction on outdoor gatherings remains 500.


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