Recently the NSW Government announced its “roadmap” for the easing of restrictions. These are expected to begin during the course of this month, once 70% of people in NSW aged 16 and over have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine. Further easing of restrictions will take place when the double-dose vaccination rate reaches 80%, and again at 90%.
At the 80% rate, Masses can resume for all who wish to attend (in keeping with capacity limits). So that no one is excluded from participating in Mass if they so wish, the church will remain closed for Masses until that point, which is expected to occur by November.
This is in keeping with today’s request by Bishop Vincent Long. The Archdiocese of Sydney, the Diocese of Broken Bay and the Diocese of Wollongong (which, along with our diocese, cover all the parishes in Greater Metropolitan Sydney) will also resume the celebration of Mass at that time. The Bishops of NSW are concerned that any earlier resumption of Masses, while permissible, would exclude those who are not fully vaccinated at that time.
We thank you for your continued patience and support, and we look forward to being able to welcome you back to the church soon.
In the meantime, if you have not received a COVID-19 vaccination, we strongly recommend that you do so as soon as possible. Our Carmelite Community and our parish office staff are fully vaccinated, and recommend that everyone does the same for the protection of themselves, their loved ones, and our whole community.
Our bishop, Most Rev Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv, has today released a pastoral letter about COVID-19 vaccination. In the letter, he affirms that receiving the COVID-19 vaccination is in accordance with Catholic teaching, and encourages all eligible people within the Diocese to get vaccinated.
Particularly as our state is challenged by the highly contagious delta variant of the virus, everyone is urged to get vaccinated. Parishioners wanting to get the COVID-19 vaccine should consult the NSW Government website for information about clinics set up in the local area, or speak to their doctor.
The feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is celebrated on 16th July
Lockdown greetings. The current COVID situation means we cannot celebrate our parish feast day this Sunday. The actual feast day is 16th July but, in the parish, we normally mark it on the Sunday closest to the date. However, you might like to join the livestream of the Mothers’ Mass at 10:30am from Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Middle Park in Melbourne. This is an annual celebration and will be an excellent Mass with music etc. The livestream location details are as follows but when we get the actual link, we will publish it on the parish website so you can just click on the link and join:
The Carmelites also publish an excellent prayer service for homes for the feast day which you can find on our parish website. We will also make copies available outside the church and priory if you would like to pick one up.
Hopefully life will free up again. When it does, we will have a combined celebration of 75 years of the parish along with the feast day at the Sunday Masses on a weekend to be determined. In the meantime, on behalf of the Carmelite community at Wentworthville I wish you every peace and joy for the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Please stay safe and well as we continue to live with the reality of the coronavirus.
Denis Andrew OCarm
Historical background to the Feast day
Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the title given to Mary in her role as patroness of the Carmelites. The first Carmelites were hermits living on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land during the late 12th and early 13th century. In the midst of their little cells or hermitages they built a chapel which they dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Eventually many of the Carmelite hermits left the Holy Land and spread throughout Europe. As well as seeing Mary as “The Lady of the Place” their devotion to Mary broadened. The Carmelites came to see Mary in various roles such as a Woman of Prayer, Mary the Contemplative, Mary: Queen and Beauty of Carmel, Mary: Mother and Sister. It was in the late 14th century in England that the actual feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel first came to be celebrated on 16 July.
This weekend (17/18 July) is our annual celebration of the Solemnity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, our Parish Feast Day. Resources are provided for parishioners to celebrate the feast day this weekend, both through prayer and home and live streamed Mass from the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Middle Park, Melbourne).
While restrictions remain in place, Bishop Vincent’s dispensation from the obligation to participate in Sunday Mass remains in place in the Diocese of Parramatta.