Catholics and Coronavirus
Catholics and Coronavirus

Book before you pray: New rules as churches reopen

If you normally pray at a big church, prepare to have to register to get in this weekend.

And it's best to check with your local parish or church before turning up, as only some will be returning, and times will be different.

At St Stephen's Cathedral in the CBD, devout Catholics have already booked out at least one service.

But Dean of the Cathedral, Fr Anthony Mellor, said they had added extra masses, with all three priests and the Archbishop working.

"We're restricted to 100 attending, but if we go to the four square metre rule we could go up to 230 people,'' he said.

"This is the first weekend we've done this on a large scale, so we're still getting used to it and people are still getting used to it.



"There's been a strong response. One Sunday mass is already full and others are filling.''

St Patrick's in the Valley would also be called on to assist this weekend, when there will be services at 5pm and 6pm on Saturday, and 8am, 9am, 10am, 11am, midday, 5.30pm and 7.30pm on Sunday.

Worshippers can either call 3324 3030 to register, or visit the Cathedral website

"It's a relief to have larger crowds again,'' Fr Mellor said.

"People will still have to physically distance, particularly during the line up for Communion - I tell them it's like the line up at Bunnings or Coles.''

Live streaming will continue.

Queensland Baptists will also make a return to in-person services this weekend, but arrangements will depend on the size of individual churches.



Many larger ones will continue livestreaming and smaller churches will have shorter (70-80 minutes) but more frequent services.

About 75 per cent of the 133 Anglican Church Southern Queensland parishes have embraced prerecording, livestreaming, YouTube, Zoom and also physical resources dropped off to households.

Archbishop of Brisbane, the Most Reverend Dr Phillip Aspinall, said about a dozen Brisbane and regional parishes with smaller congregations planned to resume services this weekend. Several had already done so last weekend.

"Some suburban parishes such as St Gabriel at Carindale and the Church of the Resurrection at Aspley-Albany Creek will hold multiple services to cater for small congregations this Sunday,'' Dr Aspinall said.

"The size of congregations for services will mostly be 20 or under, although up to 100 is permissible under the COVID Industry Plan approved by the Chief Health Officer.

"St John's Cathedral in the city has been open for private worship for a fortnight and will begin weekday eucharists next week and Sunday Evensong services in a fortnight.

"However, individual parishes make their own decisions about the timing and shape of a return to worship.''

Originally published as Book before you pray: New rules as churches reopen