Posted on: September 25, 2020
An Open Letter to the Premier from the Catholic Bishops of Victoria
Friday 25 September 2020
The Premier, The Hon Daniel Andrews
Office of the Premier
1 Treasury Place
Melbourne VIC 3002
By email: email@example.com
It has been very encouraging to see COVID-19 numbers dropping so dramatically in recent weeks. We are grateful for the efforts and commitment of the government and health officials in containing the second wave of the pandemic, and for the clear leadership you have provided personally in your daily communication updates for all Victorians.
Throughout the various changes in restrictions over the last six months, the Catholic dioceses of Victoria have shown themselves to be resilient, well-‐managed and safe, carefully communicating each set of restrictions and ensuring their implementation, even when this caused much hardship.
However, people of faith across regional and metropolitan Victoria have raised serious concerns about the unfairness and inconsistency in the numbers allowed for religious gatherings by comparison with other sectors in the current ‘third step’. We are being asked what the reason is for this dramatic difference, and we are unable to provide an answer, even after several meetings with DHHS in which we have sought explanations.
Over the last two weeks, we have worked cooperatively with members of the government and health authorities, and have resolved a number of inconsistencies and communication difficulties.
However, a pressing need remains to address the unfairness of the disparity in numbers. In the most simple of measures, the current restrictions in regional Victoria literally fail the ‘pub test’: if people of faith can gather in a restaurant or bar catering for a particular number of patrons (and remove their face covering), they ought to be able to put on their mask, cross the road and worship in their faith community with the same numbers, provided equivalent COVID‐safe practices are in place.
We ask that this disparity be rectified urgently and that the principle of fairness be applied for each subsequent step on the roadmap to reopening. Catholic communities have shown their commitment to acting responsibly and cooperatively throughout the pandemic, and they will be greatly encouraged in this if they can see that people of faith are being given the same consideration as other sectors of the community.
You remain in our prayers and we look forward to finding a constructive solution to this issue, which is causing unnecessary pain and distress for people of faith across Victoria.
Posted on: September 17, 2020
A Pathway through the Covid-19 Pandemic
The Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne Information Sheet
Family, religion, work, education, leisure and care are the first and foundational priorities by which our pathway through the COVID-19 pandemic ought to be measured.
The Archdiocese advocates:
- That the principle of fairness is applied in Victoria, so that our Catholic community is not discriminated against or unduly treated at any stage.
- That we can each practice our faith with integrity and in charity.
- That faith communities experience as much freedom as is practicable, while staying committed to the safety of the community.
- That the voice of the Church be motivated by mature and confident faith, not fear or anxiety.
Our ministry will not stop, even in a Pandemic
Creative ways of ministering to God’s People have been found: Live streaming Masses and broadcasts; sacramental care under social restrictions; phoning isolated parishioners when we couldn’t meet face-to-face; attending care facilities and hospitals; serving our people responsibly. Our ministry to those in need will not stop, but will continually adapt according to circumstance.
Opening our doors in the Pandemic
Our Catholic communities in Melbourne have been praying and working through the Pandemic, looking forward to re-opening our doors for sacramental celebrations again. The Mass is our primary means of gathering together in faith; it is the source and summit of our Christian life, and its life-giving nourishment and healing is essential. If churches can be opened, even for outdoor gatherings, then they should be opened.
The Pandemic is a health and an economic crisis
The Catholic Church follows Christ’s way of serving people in need. This means reaching for the common good, where no one is left behind and a place for everyone is found. We are committed to the lives and livelihoods of all Victorians. We have cooperated with Government restrictions, even when that has been hard going and we would have liked to do much more for one another.
The Church’s voice with Government and our communities
Since the Pandemic began, the Archdiocese has engaged in ongoing dialogue with authorities, including Government, parliamentarians at state and federal level, police and health department officials. The Archdiocese
works constructively with the Government to remedy any unintentional oversights in restrictions guidelines.
The Victorian Government Roadmap for the staged easing of restrictions offers some clarity, although its application calls for further dialogue. Steps have been taken to address areas of concern throughout the Pandemic, including the availability of viaticum for the sick and the dying, freedom to hear Confession and permits for church staff assisting with essential services.
The lives of all Victorians matter. Opening our doors safely, joyfully and respectfully matters.
Please contact the Archdiocesan COVID-19 hotline on (03) 9926 2469 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on: September 11, 2020
Fr Richard celebrates 10th Anniversary as a priest
10 Years of Service – Q&A with Fr Richard Rosse
by Tien Tran, 4th Year Seminarian
Corpus Christi College
Congratulations on your 10th Anniversary of Priesthood Ordination. It’s a significant milestone in your priestly life as well as a joyful occasion for those to whom you minister. Today we thank God for the gift of your life and pray for you on this occasion. This year we can’t get together to celebrate it with you so to help us to celebrate this occasion I’ve got a list of questions I’d like to ask you and I’m sure your people would love to hear your answers too.
TIEN: Pick two best memories in your 10 years of the priesthood?
FR RICHARD: Leading two pilgrimages to the Holy Land to follow in the steps of Jesus. These included their own highlights. On the first occasion, it was the celebration of Mass very close to the tomb of Jesus in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. On the second occasion, it was the celebration of Mass at the church of the Nativity.
The occasion of the anointing of the mother of friends of mine and the fact that she died during the celebration of the sacrament.
Being the best pastor that I can be.
Other “hats” you are wearing at the moment apart from being Parish Priest here?
I am on several committees which include the Archbishop’s Council Of Priests, the Priests’ Remuneration Fund, the Diocesan Pastoral and Maintenance Fund, Corpus Christi Priests’ Association, the Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, and also help the Archbishop with liturgies when he asks me to.
Your favourite scripture verse?
Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ, and yet I am alive; yet it is no longer I, but Christ living in me.” I try my best to live up to this verse.
Your favourite saint?
St Thérèse of Lisieux
How many chickens do you have and what are their name?
I have two chickens and their names are Felicity and Perpetua.
Name four things you can’t live without.
- Times of quiet (praying, walking, praying while walking.)
- Airplanes and everything associated with them
- Time with friends
Languages you speak.
French, Mauritian Creole, English, and Italian
Two things you do to relax.
- Watch TV
- Watching clips of airplanes
Three things you’ve done during this lockdown.
- I’ve thoroughly cleaned my house with the help of Tien.
- I learned to ride a bike with the help of Tien.
- I’ve walked a lot without the help of Tien.
Two things you can’t wait to do when restrictions ease.
- Hug members of my family
- Have a meal in a restaurant
What does this significant milestone mean for you?
It reminds me of the importance of giving thanks firstly for the grace of the priesthood and importantly for the people in my life. I find my strength in the knowledge that I am serving the people of God in this grace-filled way.
What are you doing today to celebrate this occasion?
Tien will cook a barbecue for dinner and there will be some champagne flowing.
Something you want to say to the people of St Catherine of Siena, Caroline Springs on this occasion.
A million times thank you. Thank you for welcoming me among you when I arrived three years ago and allowing me to serve God in the way he has destined I should. Of course, I still need your support, your guidance, your corrections, your encouragements and most importantly your prayers.
Some facts about Fr Richard
- Born in Mauritius in 1977
- Moved to Australia in 1998 for tertiary education
- Entered the Seminary in 2004
- Ordained priest on 11th September 2010
- Been Assistant Priest at Noble Park and the Cathedral
- Became Parish Priest of St Catherine of Siena, Caroline Springs on 4th October 2017