Dew seeks clarity on 100 person limit, stops short of vaccine mandate


The Archbishop of Wellington, Cardinal John Dew has a dual concern, people’s safety and respecting the wish of some to return to Mass.

In a letter, Tuesday, to priests and lay pastoral leaders, Dew approved the celebration of weekday Masses.

He also says the archdiocese is seeking to clarify whether the lifting of the 100-person cap on hospitality venues in Level 2 will also apply to churches.

Our people are also “seated and separate”, he observes.

If lifting the 100 person capacity applies to churches Dew says it will allow some larger churches to increase the number of spaces available.

He says he will again be in touch next week with priests and lay pastoral leaders letting them know the outcome of his enquiries.

While feeling responsible about people’s safety, Dew has not gone as far as mandating that priests in the archdiocese are vaccinated.

He is very keen they are and is urging them to make known their vaccine status.

His concern also extends beyond the priests to all those involved in official ministry in the archdiocese including ministers of the Eucharist, ministers of the Word, those taking Holy Communion to the sick, collectors, greeters, sacristans and altar servers.

Dew says priests and ministers need to lead by example.

“I want to encourage you as priests and ministers in the community to tell the people that you are vaccinated yourselves and encourage others to be vaccinated,” Dew says.

Pope Francis says getting a Covid jab that is “authorised by their respective authorities” is an act of love.

Helping others to do the same, Pope Francis has said is also an act of love – “Love for oneself, love for our families and friends, and love for all people”.

Dew’s concern for people’s safety means the archdiocese has not been celebrating either weekday or Sunday Masses.

Aware that many people want to go back to Mass Dew is permitting weekday Masses to begin (Monday to Saturday morning), and he hopes Saturday vigils and Sunday Masses will resume on the weekend of 16-17 October.

“I believe that we must remind people if they are concerned or cautious, if they are vulnerable, and at-risk because of age or underlying health condition, they are dispensed from Sunday Mass,” he wrote.

Over 90% of Wellingtonians have received their first vaccine jab.

Dew has stopped short of reinstating the Sunday obligation.

He is particularly concerned that parishes don’t introduce extra Masses as a way of meeting the pastoral need.


  • Supplied, Wellington Archdiocese
  • Image:RNZ
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