Anzac long weekend disrupted as Perth, Peel regions thrown into three-day snap lockdown
The Perth and Peel regions were forced into snap lockdown from 12:01am Saturday, 24 April, until 12.01am Tuesday, 27 April. A post-lockdown transition has been in place since then until 12.01am on Saturday 1 May. Photo: Matthew Lau.
By Matthew Lau
The COVID-19 pandemic has last weekend disarrayed Good Shepherd Sunday and Anzac Day 2021 scheduled celebrations in the Perth and Peel regions because of a State Government implemented three-day lockdown.
Developments unfolded on the afternoon of Friday, 23 April, as WA Premier Mark McGowan called for an emergency press conference.
The revelation of an active coronavirus case resulted in a pragmatic solution where Perth and Peel moved into lockdown from 12.01am Saturday, 24 April, until 12.01am Tuesday, 27 April.
The stern measures were then lifted as the regions transitioned out of lockdown at 12.01am Tuesday, 27 April, with some restrictions still in place until 12.01am Saturday, 1 May. Whether these subsequent restrictions will be lifted remains indeterminate at the time of this article’s publishing.
Perth residents have grown accustomed to the kaleidoscopic events of the past 13 months, with many travellers and business owners beleaguered by the second snap lockdown of 2021.
Crucially for “places of worship”, the 20-person capacity limit and four sqm rule apply as requisites.
Parishes and mass centres across the Archdiocese of Perth are classified as “places of worship”. People are this week required to wear a facemask, practise physical distancing, and indoor venues are limited to 20 patrons. Photo: Matthew Lau.
Among the events cancelled this past weekend was Couples for Christ’s National Conference, which had intended to conclude with a Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral on the afternoon of 25 April. Limitations compelled Anzac Day dawn services; many people instead paid their respects from their home doorstep.
The Archdiocese of Perth encouraged Perth Catholics to view “Mass for You at Home”, available online via Channel 10 and YouTube, co-ordinated by the Diocese of Wollongong.
Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB released a statement to the clergy and faithful on Monday, 26 April, to address the post-lockdown transition.
“It is mandatory for places of worships and all Archdiocesan workplaces to have available the SafeWA App and/or paper-based contact register for clergy, parishioners, staff, contractors, and visitors,” the statement detailed.
“Regional travel restrictions will be removed, but restrictions on travel to remote Aboriginal communities remain in place. Anyone in an unaffected region who has been in Perth or Peel since 17 April must comply with mask-wearing requirements.”
Wanneroo Parish Assistant Priest Father Leonardo Guiang OSM made a valiant effort to respond to the dire situation by live streaming the Fourth Sunday of Easter Mass using a smartphone.
“I don’t want people to be deprived of the Eucharist,” he told The eRecord.
Impressively, Fr Guiang filmed and celebrated the service by himself. He hopes to have parishioners back at St Anthony’s Church this weekend.
“People are restricted to go to the Church because of COVID-19, so we bring the Church online for a moment; but, of course, the will of God is to bring people to His Church.
“Broadcasting online is a poor substitute for the real Mass, but nowadays technology is part of our ministry,” Fr Guiang said.
Greenmount Parish Priest Fr Leonard Macionczyk SDS livestreams his Good Shepherd Sunday Mass celebration via Facebook. Photo: Sourced.
Greenmount Parish was another of the many parishes that offered an online Mass.
Parish Priest Fr Leonard Macionczyk SDS said it was vital to create a “virtual community” because his parishioners were yearning to “tap into the Church they know well”.
“It gives me the opportunity to connect with my parishioners to let them know what’s happening and that the good Lord hasn’t forgotten them,” Fr Macionczyk expressed.
“We are using Facebook because that’s the easiest way of connecting, especially with the younger community.
“What inspired me to livestream Mass was my ordination; I am here to serve the people of God, and they need to be part of the Church in a spiritual way.”
The Salvatorian Provincial Superiors encouraged their priests to proclaim the good news of the Lord “by all means”, Fr Macionczyk added, whether in person or by multimedia channels.
“What comes first is to provide the service and nourishment to people of my parish, which can also be accessed to those around the world.
“My inspiration is to connect with people and do what Jesus is asking of me.”
The Minister for Emergency Services has extended the COVID-19 enforced State of Emergency declaration for 14 days from 23 April until 7 May 2021.
The WA Government’s full announcement outlining all restrictions relevant to the lockdown can be found at: https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/department-of-the-premier-and-cabinet/covid-19-coronavirus-latest-updates.
Further updates relevant to the Archdiocese of Perth will be communicated on an ongoing basis in response to these developing circumstances and made available on the dedicated COVID-19 page on the AOP website: http://www.perthcatholic.org.au/COVID19.htm