Cлава Ісусу Христу!
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As we meet the current challenges of the COVID-19 Pandemic which has affected us all, we put our trust in the Lord Jesus and that we will with time help us to overcome this terrible virus.
On Wednesday and Friday of the Third week of the Great Fast, during the Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts we read passages from the book of Genesis, about Noah and the Ark. We all know the story. The animals two by two, the flood, the desperation, the sadness. We also see the faith of Noah, who trusted in God and obeyed Him, the deliverance from the flood, the rainbow of hope and the dove bearing in its beak a branch of the olive tree.
Noah’s Ark is a pre-figuring of the Church. It is for this reason that we call the body of the church the “nave” the Latin word for ship. We travel together on the road to salvation, in good times as well as difficult times.
There are many aspects associated with the Coronavirus. We as a community should do everything humanly possible stop its spread. As a Church, we are all affected in the way we can practice our faith at this time. However, as a community and religious family we must work together to overcome these challenges
During this current crisis, we have an obligation to look after our health, not only our physical health but also our spiritual health. Having reviewed all the directives of government, and having consulted widely including medical practitioners, I now issue the following regulations that are to apply in all our parishes effective immediately.
- All scheduled Divine Services are, for the time being, to continue.
- No more than 100 people are allowed inside a church. Parishes must ensure that this regulation is complied with.
- Adequate distance between the faithful must be observed. 2x2m is mandated by the authorities. It may be an idea to block every second pew.
- Cleaning of surfaces is to take place after every Liturgy including door handles.
- Communion will be administered with individual wooden or bamboo spoons. After use the spoons are to put into a container and burnt after the Liturgy.
- If you feel sick do not come to church. You are not morally obliged to attend the liturgy on Sundays or holy days of obligation if you are ill.
- Avoid handshakes and hugs with your fellow parishioners in church.
- Do not kiss icons or hand crosses.
- If you need to sneeze or cough in church, use a handkerchief or your elbow to cover your mouth and nose.
- Wash your hands. Use the hand sanitizer on entry to the church.
- All Ministers of Holy Communion should take particular care to wash their hands before and after distributing. Appropriate means should be made available.
- The Petitions and Prayer that have been distributed are to be recited at every liturgy.
- If unable to come to church for whatever reason, the faithful are encouraged to keep the Holy Day. This can be done by setting aside time for prayer, reading of sacred scripture and by joining in prayer via the internet. The cathedral liturgies are webcast at youtube.catholicukes.org.au
These challenging times give us an opportunity to reflect. As we are in the Lenten period, we can spend more time in prayer, in discussion and quality time with our families appreciating the many blessing we have. May God be with us as he was with Noah and his family as we journey together in these difficult times.
20 March 2020
+ Peter Stasiuk CSsR
This post is also available in: Ukrainian