MOUNT Gambier Catholic Parish has cancelled all public services – including its Easter weekend mass – to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Weddings, baptisms and funerals will continue to be held at St Paul’s Catholic Church, however strict guidelines have been introduced in line with government regulations, including limiting guests to under 100 people.
Effective from today, Father Dean Marin said it was the first time in his 40 years of service to the Catholic church that a mass had been cancelled.
“It is going to be a big shock but I think we all realise that we are living in extraordinary times,” Father Dean said.
“We all need to do what is best for the health and well-being of the whole community while keeping in line with the Federal Government guidelines.”
Fr Dean said a priest would be at the Penola Road church during normal mass times this weekend with the church open for individual prayer.
“Each priest will be celebrating mass privately each day and especially for the intentions of the whole community and for the Lord’s care and protection against the virus in this time of crisis,” he said.
“We all need to be very thoughtful and caring of one another as it is not the time of just thinking of oneself but we need to think of the whole community, especially the elderly and the vulnerable.
“It is a time when we are all challenged to remember we are not totally in control and need the Lord’s care and protection.”
Fr Dean said mass was central to the Catholic faith and urged those within the community to understand the decision was not made lightly.
“We are not at the same stage as other countries but if we do take part in these procedures now we can prevent the spread,” he said.