Gathering as a Community
The government has confirmed that from Monday 24 January 2022 all of Aotearoa New Zealand will move into the RED level of the Covid Protection Framework or Traffic Light system.
There are many implications of this framework. A number of documents have been prepared to advise and guide faith communities in making decisions about gatherings including Mass.
The ability to gather in large numbers is governed by participants' vaccination status which they need to prove using the Vaccine Pass
These are new and complex times. The framework is regularly tweaked by the Ministry of Health. We encourage faith communities to regularly check back to be alerted to changes made. Government Guidelines were updated 24 December please check them as we reopen. They have been particularly mindful to be clear concerning face-coverings for workers (paid and volunteer).
Let us Pray
Mary Most Holy and Beloved Mother, help us realise that we are all members of one great family and to recognise the bond that unites us, so that, in a spirit of fraternity and solidarity, we can help to alleviate countless situations of poverty and need. Make us strong in faith, persevering in service, constant in prayer.
Mary, Consolation of the afflicted, embrace all your children in distress and pray that God will stretch out his all-powerful hand and free us from this terrible pandemic, so that life can serenely resume its normal course.
To you, who shine on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope, do we entrust ourselves,
O Clement, O Loving, O Sweet Virgin Mary. Amen.
Excerpt from Pope Francis’ prayer to Mary for the end of the pandemic
May 04, 2021.
In what some may see as a paradox, our faith teaches us that when we willingly put aside some of our freedoms in the service of protecting others and in the interests of solidarity, we are actually realising a deeper aspect of our freedom rather than giving our freedom away. When we give ourselves in love or service to others, we fulfill a fundamental dimension of what it means to be authentically human which flows from our inherent interconnectedness with others.
NZCBC November 2021
What does this mean?
- Parishes will provide Masses for people with a My Vaccine Pass while ensuring there is the opportunity for people without a pass to access a separate numbers-restricted option where possible.
- Parishes will, either singly or in collaboration with neighbouring parishes, provide worship opportunities for the vaccinated (requiring proof of vaccination) as well as separate gatherings, subject to number restrictions, that will be open to vaccinated and unvaccinated alike (no proof of vaccine required).
- All lay people involved in public-facing public ministries related to a worship service or other parish ministries (ushers, readers, ministers of the Eucharist, collectors, those leading liturgies of the Word, Communion to the sick, home visitation) will need to be fully vaccinated at vaccine pass Masses and when performing other work where vaccination is required.
- Priests and other ministers who are not fully vaccinated will, under the current public health orders, be significantly constrained in their ministry; they will be unable to exercise pastoral care in aged-care residential settings or hospitals as well as schools. This includes taking communion to the sick and housebound.
- The current situation also demands that parishes continue with measures designed to minimise the risk of transmitting Covid-19, such as encouraging the use of masks, social distancing, communion only in the hand, no holy water for blessing, and no shared hymn or other books.
Frequently Asked Questions Red Level Protection Framework
No. If there are dual gatherings (one requiring Vaccine Pass one not) then each gathering must have a separate entrance where there is no chance of mingling and, separate facilities such as toilets. This precludes most internal spaces within a Church and halls that do not have a separate entrance.