Mass but not as we knew it


In a pastoral statement, the New Zealand Catholic bishops have written to Catholics saying they are pleased that Mass can resume, but warn the experience may not be as familiar as it once was.

They say the new normal is means the Church’s liturgy remains restricted to protect the vulnerable and elderly.

The statement, creatively designed for Pentecost, parallels society’s lockdown with the image of the apostles and Mary emerging from their pre-Pentecost “closed room.”

The bishops say they share the joy of Catholics all over New Zealand at being able to celebrate Eucharist together, however, warn that at least for a while, the new normal means not everyone will be able to be accommodated at Sunday Mass and that each parish will have to determine how to celebrate Mass and ensure the health guidelines are kept.

They also say that due to the regulations some churches are likely to not reopen immediately.

“We share your joy at being able to celebrate Eucharist together. However, we still have to live under the restrictions that are there for the good of our vulnerable and elderly. Each parish is going to have to determine how it will offer Masses while ensuring health guidelines are kept. This may mean some churches will not open immediately. It may mean that there are more people wanting to attend Mass than can be accommodated” a part of the bishops’ statement reads.

In the absence of Mass for over two months, the bishops acknowledge the creativity of New Zealanders.

“We have been delighted by the creative initiatives that have arisen and the way the risen Lord has used these to bestow his graces”, they wrote.

However, further acknowledging the new normal will be different, the bishops addressed congregations throughout the country, asking anyone who is vulnerable to the virus, those who are afraid and anyone who is not well to stay at home.

The bishops’ pastoral statement, acknowledges those who risked themselves while the rest of the country was locked-down.

“As we emerge from our “closed room” and return to our churches and community engagement we take this opportunity to thank those who protected and supported our sick, vulnerable and, indeed, all of us throughout the lockdown. We thank all those in our faith communities who have worked tirelessly to connect with parishioners offering spiritual support.”

The bishops say the dispensation from attendance at Sunday Mass continues.


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News category: New Zealand, Top Story.

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