When restrictions around public worship eased earlier this month, Fr Andrew Jekot at St Mary of the Cross Catholic Parish, Mordialloc and Aspendale, couldn’t wait to re-open the church doors and welcome his parishioners back.
"I certainly thought that at Easter time we would be back full strength in the church for Mass at Pentecost. How wrong was I! It has been wonderful to be able to offer regular weekday and weekend Masses again (as of 2 June) and see parishioners face to face and not through a device!"
COVID-19 has not only changed the way people gather for public worship, but also the ways in which ordinary parish ministries are offered.
Fr Andrew shared that over the past few weeks he has spent time with families who have recently lost loved ones.
“We have held several funerals during this time and we keep in our prayers those who are returning to the Father. We also pray for those mourning their loss, especially during this time of coronavirus when we have not been able to gather as a community and physically express our support.”
Fr Andrew says most parishioners have adapted to the new system of having to register for Mass beforehand.
“Most people who have called about registering for Mass have been accommodated. Where the weekend Masses have filled up, we’ve encouraged people to consider joining us for weekday Mass instead, to enable as many people to attend as possible.”
“I’m very grateful to our PPC and our team of welcomers who have worked like troopers to ensure the necessary cleaning and sanitising of the church after Masses.”
Fr Andrew said he hopes once July comes around that there will be a further increase in attendees allowed to attend Mass. “I await guidelines from the Archdiocese but in the meantime, we are still recording Masses via our parish website. These will continue until further notice.”
“As I recently wrote to my parishioners, winter is ordinarily the time for hibernation.
For us, it is the opposite and it will be a slow process of emerging out of our coronavirus-induced isolation so hang in there and we will get there!’”