Thousands celebrate Mass online across Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains

By Mary Brazell, 31 March 2020
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta celebrates Mass on the Fifth Sunday of Lent, which was live streamed. Image: Diocese of Parramatta.


Thousands of Catholics across Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains have participated in Masses over the weekend.

The only difference is that this weekend, they were all tuning in online.

In light of directives from the Federal Government due to the coronavirus pandemic, all churches and places of worship are temporarily closed.

But parish priests across the Diocese of Parramatta and even Bishop Vincent have committed to sharing the Word of God and the celebration of the Eucharist with their communities.

Several parishes have opened their churches virtually by streaming daily Masses and Sunday Masses through their Facebook pages, or on YouTube channels.

On Sunday, Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, participated in his first live streamed Mass since the closure of churches.

Speaking to the hundreds of viewers who were watching through Facebook and Instagram, Bishop Vincent explained in his homily that we are living in a world of change, chaos and complexity.

RELATED: Bishop Vincent’s homily from the Fifth Sunday in Lent

“Scriptures for this Fifth Sunday in Lent speaks of the God who is at home with changes and upheavals. It is the God who leads us beyond our known and limited horizons to a new future of life to the full. This life to the full is not static or a closed system but ever expanding and evolving. He accompanies us on this journey towards wholeness with him and with all that he created,” Bishop Vincent said.

“The coronavirus crisis reveals a world that is fractured. It tells us that the dominant mode of human conquest and dominion is no longer sustainable. We may be on top of the food chain, but our survival depends on our partnership with every form of life.

“We need a radical new way of relating and living that brings harmony and sustainability to all of life. That is what the practice of Lent highlights.

“May the God of life accompany us as we move to the new future. May the present crisis be turned into new horizons of possibility, for us but also beyond us, to future generations and to the world that God loves.”

Celebrating Mass at St Patrick’s Cathedral, assistant priest Fr Chris del Rosario said that during this time of crisis, it can be difficult to have faith, but is not the time to lose faith.

“We are in a very uncomfortable situation. We all want to be here [in church]. As priests here in the Cathedral Parish, Fr Bob and I, we would love to fling the doors open and let you all in. It’s unfortunate we can’t,” Fr Chris said.

“But does that mean that Christ is gone? Does that mean that God isn’t here? Does that mean that we stop believing? No, my dear friends, it does not mean any of those things.

“If anything, it should spur you forward, because you hunger and thirst for the Resurrection and the Life. You hunger and thirst for the Eucharist. You should hunger and thirst for him more and more, and above all things, believe. Have faith that God has not abandoned us.

“Let us not lose faith, my dear friends, for as Our Lord tells us today in our Gospel, for all time, He is the Resurrection and the Life, and whoever believes in Him will never die.”

Parishes will continue to live stream daily Masses, as well as offering videos for Adoration and Benediction, Divine Mercy chaplets and the reciting of the Rosary.

Bishop Vincent will be celebrating Mass via live stream again this Sunday 5 April, to commemorate Palm Sunday and the beginning of Holy Week. The Diocese of Parramatta is also planning on live streaming Holy Week celebrations with the Bishop from St Patrick’s Cathedral. More details will follow.

Please find below a link to all parishes who have live streaming services available to parishioners and the wider Diocesan community.


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