Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli has written to clergy and faithful in the Melbourne Archdiocese, acknowledging the many challenges facing the Catholic community during Victoria’s extended COVID-19 lockdown. Source: Melbourne Catholic.
The pastoral letter follows last week’s overturning of restrictions on spiritual ministry to the sick and the dying.
“Throughout the pandemic, I have been advocating directly with the Government, reminding authorities continually of our respectful compliance with each stage of restrictions, and seeking a fair consideration in what is permitted,” Archbishop Comensoli said.
He said it was essential that the Government "does not treat faith communities as an afterthought to the opening up of other sectors. Our churches are locations for communities of care and essential service, and must be treated fairly and reasonably”.
In the letter, Archbishop Comensoli acknowledged the “profound loss” the Melbourne faithful are suffering from the “deprivation in sacramental life” since churches were first closed in March.
He said the “sense of estrangement from the Eucharist has been a particular struggle for Catholics. He gave particular acknowledgement to “countless Catholic families” who are “awaiting Baptism, Reconciliation, Holy Communion and Confirmation for their children. Adults, too, have longed to be received into the life of the Church”.
“We shall be exploring possibilities such as outdoor liturgies in parish and school settings to facilitate these crucial events of grace and welcome,” Archbishop Comensoli said.
Earlier in the week, the Archbishop recorded a video message in which he explained some of the work being done in the background to help the Melbourne Catholic community move towards a re-opening of its sacramental life.
Our sacramental life: Message from Archbishop Peter A Comensoli (Melbourne Catholic)
Archbishop Peter A Comensoli's letter to the people and clergy of Melbourne (Melbourne Archdiocese)