Message from Archbishop Prowse & Updated Archdiocesan Protocols, as of 25 March 2020

Dear Friends in Christ,

On this great Solemnity of the Annunciation, I wish to update you on the developing situation regarding the coronavirus pandemic and its implications for the pastoral life of our people.

Overnight updates by the Prime Minister and clarifications by other authorities in recent days now necessitate not simply the cessation of liturgical or any other gatherings in our Churches but also the LOCKING of our Churches. Funerals and weddings can be accommodated with strict numbers in attendance. Baptisms are to be postponed. See attached updated protocols for further details. It is with a very heavy heart indeed that I ask you to attend to these matters immediately.

Pope Francis is daily reaching out to us from Rome. He asks us today to join all Christian leaders in the recitation of the Our Father. This coming Friday (27th March) he will impart a special blessing upon the entire world (Urbi et Orbi) gripped in this terrible pandemic. He has asked us all to participate spiritually. This is available through the Vatican news portal ( On this portal the Pope also offers daily Masses for us all. Please visit it often and publicise the address.

I am hearing of all sorts of wonderful creative pastoral initiatives respecting the current protocols blossoming right now in our parishes. Thank you! For example, the creation of “telephone trees” which link parishioners (often youth) with people alone in their homes without any internet access or competency. There are regular phone calls to “check in”. Also there is the offer of hard copies of prayers and practical assistances (eg shopping) to the house bound. Please let us know your initiatives so we can share ideas with others.

May I conclude for the moment with the assurance to you all of my prayers and blessings – especially today with the intercession of the young woman of Nazareth who changed the world by saying a hearty YES to the initiative of God.

Archbishop Christopher Prowse
Catholic Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn
Apostolic Administrator of Wagga Wagga Diocese.


Updated Archdiocese Protocols – 25 March 2020

Other resources:

ACT Health
NSW Health
World Health Organisation (WHO)


Wordpress (13)
  • Gunther Mau 1 week

    Terrible news – but better to err on the side of caution. Still, I wonder what danger can an empty church pose? As opposed to schools and offices and supermarkets…

    I was going to suggest to have sacred music playing in church while there is no mass – Hildegard, Bach, Gregorian Chant, etc – to give comfort to parishoners (Silence can be enhanced my sacred music, I believe and it can deepen our communication with God) but we may have to leave that for the future. God Bless Archbishop

  • Peter Thygesen 1 week

    With the locking of churches comes, presumably, virtually no access to Confession.
    In this time when we now, in a more than usual way, face the prospect of death out of time that is very sad. I hope that the Archdiocese and parishes will publish on their websites some guidance on how to make an act of perfect contrition.

  • Louise 1 week

    Why locked churches when many retail shops still open including bottle shops and hairdressers?

    Surely confessions can be arranged sensibly?

  • Barbara 1 week

    Today we were rostered to clean our lovely church of St Mary’s Young .When the door was locked behind us on leaving I felt so sad not to be able to go to the church that has been so much part of our life .I pray to St Mary MacKillop that our churches will soon be open again 

  • Iris Melhado 1 week

    We are in time to open the eyes of our heart, Our father God given the fruits of the Holt Spirit, his church has worked hard since the bigining. The church has been our mother being with us in times of pain and happiness in our celebrations of life with the sacraments has keeping us teaching learning and as Jesus learning what is love. Don’t be afraid to be without our mum church building now because He has build out his spiritual building that is in our heart, his spiritual kingdom. We are together as always in our heart with God the Father, the Son Jesus and Holy Spirit, with their love, their words,their mercy. ( This is my understanding that I have in my heart)

  • margaret reynolds 1 week

    thanks for update.I can’d see a problem if pews are separated like last week.But there is probably nothing we can do except be patient.Best to all! margaret

  • Paul Monagle 1 week

    We should be telling Government that our open churches are an essential service, open with distancing. They folded on hairdressers.

  • Rey 6 days

    I can’t see the logic of eliminating the Mass and other rituals during this time of Lent while malls and supermarkets are open for business as usual. There are ways of protecting churchgoers but they won’t listen, anyway, because the spiritual life appears to be “non-essential.” Read any book about epidemics in past centuries and you will see how unthinkable it was for church doors to be shuttered in such trying times. Goes to show how alienated we are from the true message of Christ and the spirit of the early Church.

  • Rey Ileto 6 days

    In epidemics of past centuries masses, prayers and processions accompanied and sometimes clashed with the work of medics and sanitary inspectors. Today, with the rise of “scientific knowledge,” the imperatives seem clear-cut. But it pains me this Lenten season to see church doors shuttered while malls and supermarkets remain open. Surely measures can be taken to “distance” churchgoers from each other? Oh well, maybe my disquiet can be assuaged by rereading the Apostles with all the time I have at home.

  • Barbara 6 days

    I should have said I pray for the intercession of St Mary MacKillop to God that our churches will soon be open

  • Peter Evans 5 days

    Perhaps we should look on the closure of churches and suspension of Masses as a blessing. I for one have taken the ability to access Mass with little inconvenience for granted and have now started to gain some insight into the pain of those who have suffered under totalitarian regimes. Perhaps when this is all over we will see a resurgence of Mass attendance

    • Gunther Mau 4 days

      It will be a blessing if only we listen to God our father. Why, you might ask? Because closure of the churches creates an opportunity, no, a necessity, to communicate with our father directly and un-impeded by the ‘trimmings’ of mass and clergy. Both are important, indeed necessary, but are they essential? I do not think so. Just listen to Scriptures where Jesus told us that God is our father, implying we should speak to Him directly, as we would speak to our parent. So maybe that is the true message given to us today – to communicate with God directly and personally. And would that not be a blessing indeed!

  • Brenda Bowden 2 days

    These are trying and tragic times. I am sure that is what the Apostles also thought as they barricaded themselves with our Blessed Mother into the Upper Room after Jesus was crucified. Remember what marvels came from that isolation and prayer? The day they emerged and began once again to spread the news, more than 3000 people were Baptised and came whole heartedly into the Church. God has not abandoned the world. We are seeing compassion everywhere we look in the caring for the sick, the manufacture of assistive equipment, the building of huge temporary hospitals, the research into a vaccine and the countries cooperating for the best outcome of this Pandemic. God is with us in the world, working through us and may God grant that we accept HIs grace and power and abandon ourselves to His Divine Providence. Thank you Archbishop Prowse for your inspiring and consoling words. God bless you.