WelCom December 2021
Cardinal John Dew has sent out a set of guidelines for the Wellington archdiocese to follow in the new ‘traffic light’ environment.
Writing to priests and lay pastoral leaders, the Cardinal says he wants churches in the archdiocese to be open and welcoming, but at the same time they need to work within the government’s Covid-19 Protection Framework.
His guidelines for volunteers checking Vaccine Passes before Mass are based around a friendly, warm but if necessary firm approach, and to ensure people feel safe.
Parish priests and lay pastoral leaders are responsible for ensuring churches and other gathering places in their parish comply with the new traffic lights entry criteria.
‘As parish priests and lay pastoral leaders it will be necessary for you to ensure at churches and other gathering places in your parish the new regulations are complied with’, he writes.
‘You or your delegates must sight each person’s My Vaccine Pass or verify it using the NZ Pass Verifier App as they enter’.
Cardinal John tells the priests and lay pastoral leaders that when there is a transgression, the offending people are to be engaged with politely and respectfully, but ultimately if they are unvaccinated they need to leave.
He encourages parish priests and lay pastoral leaders to plan ahead and if they believed they may meet resistance, to consider identifying the possibility ahead of time and invite Police, Māori Warden, Pacific Island Warden, community patrol member, social worker, or security guard, as appropriate to be present at the time the community gathers.
The Cardinal’s communication also refers to a list of weekend Masses with restricted numbers and broadcast Masses and suggests the list is given to anyone who is turned away. The guidelines also refer to a list of Mass places and times where the Vaccine Pass is not required.
Cardinal John concludes by saying that the parish is obligated to do what it can to adhere to the government’s new rules of gathering under the Traffic Light System and warns that if exceptions are made the risk of Covid-19 infection is unduly increased.
The government’s Covid-19 Protection Framework Guidelines for places of worship are online at: tinyurl.com/Guidelines-places-of-worship