St Michael’s in Brunswick holds its first Mass in 60 days

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Briana FioreHarvey-Waroona Reporter
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Brunswick’s first mass since COVID-19 restrictions forced all churches to close.
Camera IconBrunswick’s first mass since COVID-19 restrictions forced all churches to close. Credit: Briana Fiore/Briana Fiore

St Michael’s parishioners in Brunswick had their first Mass in 60 days following the relaxation of COVID-19 social gathering restrictions.

Father Jess Navarra was delighted to be back and said he missed his parish community.

He had been streaming church services online because social gatherings and church services across the country had been banned in an attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus.

“Mass went really well online,” Father Jess said.

“Many people tuned in every week to make sure they still practised their faith during such difficult times.”

He said the Catholic community in Brunswick was “extremely happy” to be able to attend church again.

Fr Jess standing outside Brunswicks St Michael's church.
Camera IconFr Jess standing outside Brunswicks St Michael's church. Credit: Briana Fiore/Briana Fiore

Up to 20 people are allowed to take part in church services under the latest State Government restrictions.

“Everyone was so happy to be back,” Father Jess said. “They were coming through the door with big smiles on their faces.

“It was like a really big birthday party.”

The parish priest said many parishioners attended church every week and the isolation period was the first time they had ever missed Mass.

“They were very sad because they had never missed two months of church before.

“The church is like a home for some people.”

Although, Mass is not back-to-normal as of yet.

Parishioners have to physically distance and make sure they are 1.5m apart.

They also have to use hand sanitiser at the door and register their name and contact number upon entry.

“We must take people’s data so contact tracing can be done if an outbreak occurs,” he said.

There was also no holy water allowed at the door, a ritual involving communal dipping and blessing with water, due to safety precautions.

Handshakes and signs of peace are also not allowed to be practised.

But people can still receive Holy Communion.

The ban meant that Christians were unable to practise their faith during Easter, the biggest season on the church calendar.

Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday celebrations, as well the Stations of the Cross, all had to be cancelled due to the threat of COVID-19.

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