Dear St Macartan’s Parishioners,

As you are fully aware, we are living in times that are extremely challenging and require us all to adjust and adapt to these new circumstances. But they are not beyond our control. We can minimise our risk or spreading and possibly acquiring this virus, if we listen to the government’s expert medical advisors and the government rules and regulations, which are designed to help our society get through this emergency as quickly as possible.

As your Parish Priest, I have been looking at ways to keep us connected spiritually and relationally, as we need each other more than ever now. We may not be able to congregate together for the liturgy, but prayer knows no boundaries. I am offering a private Mass daily for you all and will be trialling a video Mass (click on  link }. We will see how this goes and hopefully I can present the Easter Masses and all Sunday Masses in this type of format, until we can all come back together again. 

Just on that; “all coming back together again.” We will get through this crisis; so we should start looking ahead and looking forward to the day we can celebrate the Eucharist together again – What a glorious day that will be, how we can celebrate and party then - Yippee ;- )

But until that day comes, there are many things we can still do. Here are some ways to love your neighbour, especially those vulnerable people, during Coronavirus and while still social distancing.

Make a call

‘Every hand we don’t shake must become a phone call we make’. Be generous with phone calls, text messages, emails with photos, Facetime, WhatsApp. Kids call your parents and grandparents; parents and grandparents, call your children and grandchildren. It's especially important to take the time to call people in your life who you might not speak to very often. 

Send a letter 

Tried and true ways are also necessary. Rediscover the lost art of letter writing with friends and family in addition to phone calls and FaceTime. Send get well cards, letters and if you feel particularly artistic, try sending a drawing. 

Do the shopping 

Get in touch with elderly or vulnerable people in your community and offer help with their shopping. Ensuring they have adequate provisions in this time is one of the most valuable acts of service you can offer. 

Join or set up a volunteer help group

During this time when supermarket shelves are often empty, community groups are springing up across Facebook finding ways to provide excess food supplies and toilet paper to people who need it, and providing up to date information on shops that still carry stock of various items.       

Shop local  

Local business owners are our neighbours too, and while national corporations will be able to weather these rough times, smaller businesses may struggle over the next few weeks. Where you can, shop local.    

Fight the hoarding impulse

Over-stockpiling leads to a shortage of essential provisions for more vulnerable communities that don't have the means or opportunity. Buy in moderation, so others are also able to meet their needs.   

Ask how you can help 

Check in with neighbours and people who may be socially isolated and ask how you can help. Particularly if you’re in a lower-risk group, reach out to people in your community and see what you can do. It might be picking up groceries or prescriptions or offer a chat, or a photo to make them smile. These "Kindness cards" templates can be used to drop in your neighbours' letterboxes.

Create care packages

With other members of the parish, create care packages for people in your community who are isolated, especially those who may suffer financial strain over the coming weeks.  

These suggestions are aimed at inspiring action. “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are my members of my family you did to me.” Matt 25: 40 NRS

Pope Francis in his 15 March Angelus address, offered this prayer: 

“I want to pray for all of the priests, the creativity of priests who think of a thousand ways to be with the people so that the people don’t feel alone.”

Rev. Fr. Geoffrey Mcilroy PP
St Macartan's Mornington

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