Information updated 18 November 2021
The following Guidelines are approved by Most Rev Peter A Comensoli, Archbishop of Melbourne, to assist Clergy and Faithful with questions pertaining to specific areas of liturgy and ministry in the Archdiocese of Melbourne during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The restrictions in place are compulsory as issued under lawful direction of the Chief Health Officer of Victoria, where a State of Emergency remains in place until 16 December 2021.
As of 11.59pm Thursday 18 November 2021, the following measures will be applied throughout Victoria. These will be in place until otherwise advised, and except where particular LGAs might be placed under different restrictions for limited periods of time.
Under no circumstances should anyone awaiting a COVID-19 test verification, including Clergy (even without presenting symptoms) attend a church or parish setting until a diagnosis is confirmed. Additionally, under no circumstances should anyone attend who is closely connected to people who are awaiting test results or who have tested positive.
We welcome the opening up of our places of worship and opportunities for gathering but remain mindful and respectful that many in our community remain feeling cautious and anxious, and that density quotients will prevent our full communities gathering as they would wish.
For the time being, all Catholics in Melbourne continue to be dispensed from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass until further directed by the Archbishop. We continue to carry the happy obligation to keep Sunday holy, whether we can attend Mass or not, and can do so by any kind of prayer with members of our household and parish, reading holy scripture, and encouraging one another in our faith. Prayerfully participating in online Mass continues to be a great source of comfort on Sundays.
In 2020, Pope Francis asked the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development (DPIHD) to create a Commission, in collaboration with other Dicasteries of the Roman Curia and other organisations, to express the Church’s solicitude and care for the whole human family facing the COVID-19 pandemic. In announcing the commission, the Pope said:
'I am thinking of what comes after; of the future and of the social and economic consequences. The future has a memory. I ask you to prepare the future in two ways; with science and imagination to rise above the challenge in front of us.'
Drawing on a wealth of expertise from local communities, global platforms, and academic experts, the Commission seeks bold, broad changes: dignity in work, new structures for the common good, solidarity at the heart of governance, and nature in harmony with social systems. The goal is not only to alleviate immediate suffering, but also to usher forth the transformation of hearts, minds, and structures toward a new model of development that prepares a better future for all.