Stranded Marlborough priest live-streams parish Mass from Sydney

The new parish priest of the Marlborough is live-streaming a Sunday parish Mass from Sydney.

Fr Giltus Matias is stranded in Sydney and because of Covid-19 has not been able to get to New Zealand.

Stuff reports Mathias live-streams a vigil Mass each Saturday evening at 5 pm, while the priest in residence, Fr Jacob Kuman helps during the week.

Addressing the parish on the feast of Corpus Christi, Matias describes his situation in Australia as “extremely difficult”.

Matias, on Facebook, tells the parish he has been in Australia for more than a year but is unable to work.

“In Australia, I have been unable to do any pastoral work, which I love doing, because of my Visa status.”

Matias laments he is unable to greet people in person but says the prospect of being with the people of the Star of the Sea parish helps him to be joyful, and that when he gets to Blenheim he is keen to listen and learn from parishioners.

He says he will be involved with parish committees over the internet and in touch with parishioners through the parish newsletter. He is inviting parishioners to contact him directly or through the parish office.

Matias left New Zealand five years ago and since has ministered in the United States. He is already known to the people of Marlborough.

Star of the Sea Marlborough is one parish with seven communities covering churches in Kaikōura, Seddon, Blenheim and Picton.

A large geographic parish it stretches from Havelock and Picton in the North West, through Blenheim, the Awatere and on to Kaikoura in the South East.

“It’s been good for parishioners to be able to see him through the live-stream,” Kuman said.

“It’s been a bit of a long wait to get him over, but that’s no different to anyone else, we’re just hoping and praying that it gets sorted soon,” he said.

Indicating that Mass over the internet is less than optimal, Star of the Sea parish council chairman, Greg Stretch said the online live streaming services had gotten more popular during Lockdown.

He told Stuff that because of the 50 person ‘Delta Alert Level 2’ restriction the Archdiocese of Wellington had decided to cancel all masses.

Stretch said the numbers coming to Sunday Mass would even push the normal Level 2 100 person limit, but a 100 limit gives the parish a few more options.

Sunday Masses remain suspended throughout the country after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern threw what one bishop described as a “curveball”, announcing that indoor events are restricted to 50 people under ‘Delta Alert Level 2’.

Wellington Cardinal John Dew told priests and lay pastoral leaders that there will be no public Masses or other liturgical events in the diocese until September 21.

“We do not know how long we will be in Level 2 or whether the increased restrictions in this level might be relaxed a little at a later date while still keeping us in Level 2,” wrote Dew.



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