Week One: Archbishop’s Pastoral Parish visits
Although the Temora area has not had any cases of COVID-19 we have been affected by lockdowns and isolation.
Funerals: Perhaps the saddest effect has been the restriction of numbers at funerals. Online options do not replace the traditional way that country people attend a funeral to support the family of the deceased.
Health: Specialist appointments in larger centres have been delayed because people are afraid to enter surgery waiting rooms. Appointments for so-called non-essential surgeries have been delayed or postponed because of long waiting lists.
Business: Local businesses, particularly tourism and entertainment, have been very badly affected and this impacts on families running them. This also affects our School as people have less money to pay fees.
Peter Gain, Pastoral Council Member
Many parishioners came into 2020 already facing significant setbacks of bushfires and drought, so the COVID pandemic has added to the strain. It has been a tough time for all, particularly the vulnerable and elderly, but we have worked together to journey through.
Here are some experiences from members of our Parish and School community.I take Communion to Uralba Aged Care Hostel residents on Sundays. As a result of COVID, the facility went into lockdown and monthly Mass could no longer be celebrated, nor could residents receive visits from family or pastoral workers. When lockdown was eased, and Mass and Eucharistic visitations resumed, there was great relief. Unfortunately, lockdown was reimposed with the same result – isolation. The Pastoral Council tried to mitigate this by asking our school students to send cards to residents to show they were not forgotten, a task the school embraced.
Kate Howe, REC and classroom teacher, St Patrick’s School
We as a school have faced many changes. On returning after shutdown, the children missed contact with our priests and attending Mass. Father George made a video which was played to staff and students and the message he gave that he and Father Namora were missing the children was heartfelt. The children greatly appreciated this gesture and it provided a much-needed connection between parish and school.
Madeline Ryan, Parish Secretary
Parishioners expressed great concern for the elderly and those living alone who could not have visitors. I tried as Secretary to keep our regular parishioners informed of developments, and we continued to publish a bulletin with a short reflection/homily from Fr George. Parishioners are grateful the church is keeping in touch with them, but elderly parishioners who do not access technology as much have been hard hit.