Coronavirus — information and advice


O Mary, you shine continuously on our journey as a sign
of salvation and hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick.
At the foot of the Cross you participated in Jesus’ pain,
with steadfast faith.
You, Salvation of the Roman People, know what we need.
We are certain that you will provide, so that,
as you did at Cana of Galilee,
joy and feasting might return after this moment of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform ourselves to the Father’s will
and to do what Jesus tells us:
He who took our sufferings upon Himself,
and bore our sorrows to bring us,
through the Cross, to the joy of the Resurrection.
We seek refuge under your protection, O Holy Mother of God.
Do not despise our pleas – we who are put to the test
– and deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.

Download a copy of the prayer here.


Notes about Holy Communion – April 5, 2023
Now that the Covid pandemic is less in the news, a number of people have asked about arrangements for the reception of Holy Communion. Some have proposed reintroducing options that were permitted before the pandemic, particularly receiving the host on the tongue and sharing the chalice.

Over the past few weeks, I have consulted various people about this, including the members of our Diocesan Liturgical Commission. I have also received advice from a medical point of view. This has included advice from the Chief Executive Officer of the Southern Grampians Health Service and the Head of the Infectious Diseases Department at the Alfred Hospital. These consultations have highlighted the fact that Covid infections are still a serious concern and that we can reduce the risk of infections by continuing the present provisions regarding Holy Communion.

I have concluded that it is not yet time to reintroduce the sharing of the chalice. While reception of Holy Communion under both species of bread and wine is a fuller sign of our sharing in the banquet of Christ, we can find reassurance in the teaching of the Council of Trent that the whole Christ, body and blood, soul and divinity, is contained under each species. So, even when we simply receive the host, we are receiving the whole Christ.

In regard to the way of receiving the host, recognising the continuing risks of the pandemic, and out of consideration for the health of all parishioners, I recommend reverent reception of the host in the hand rather than reception on the tongue.

May our Communions draw us ever closer to Christ and strengthen our love and care for one another.

God bless you all.  Bishop Paul

Letter from Bishop Paul CSsR regarding adaptations to Holy Week and continuing COVID safe practices – March 29, 2022.

Information from Bishop Paul CSsR regarding the lifting of COVID mask requirements -February 25, 2022.

COVID 19 test and isolate national protocols available here – January 6, 2022.

New COVID provisions update from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR – December 16, 2021.

An update from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR on the further easing of COVID restrictions  – November 18, 2021.

Continuing Dispensation from the Obligation to Participate in Mass on Sundays and Other Holydays here from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR – October 29, 2021.

An update from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR regarding the new COVID regulations to come into effect from 6pm on Friday October 29 – October 27, 2021.

Information from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR regarding opportunities for Mass for everyone – October 15, 2021

A letter from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR on Victoria’s Roadmap and Vaccination – September 22, 2021.

Update from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR on the easing of COVID restrictions for regional Victoria – September 9, 2021.

Information from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR on the easing of COVID restrictions for regional Victoria – August 9, 2021.

COVID provisions update from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR – July 27, 2021.

Notes for lockdown from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR – July 16, 2021.

The latest information from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR on the easing of COVID restrictions – June 24, 2021.

An update from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR on the easing of COVID restrictions – June 17, 2021.

The latest update regarding the easing of COVID restrictions from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR – June 9, 2021.

An update from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR on the foreshadowed easing of COVID restrictions – June 2, 2021.

An update from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR regarding the week of COVID Lockdown in Victoria – May 27, 2021.

Victoria’s COVIDSafe settings from 11:59pm from Friday, May 28, 2021 – here.

Catholics in Australia encouraged to receive COVID-19 vaccine:  Update here from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference – April 20, 2021.

Victoria’s COVIDSafe setting from 11.59pm on Friday, April 9 2021 here.

Bishop Paul Bird CSsR offers points of guidance for the celebration of 2021 Holy Week Ceremonies here – March 15, 2021.

An update from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR on COVIDSafe provisions – February 28, 2021.

End of the five day COVID lockdown update from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR – February 17, 2021.

Letter from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR on Victoria’s five day lockdown- February 12, 2021.

Information on Victorian COVIDSafe directives in relation to places of worship – February 4, 2021

Message regarding mandatory wearing of masks indoors – February 4, 2021

Christmas Masses & QR Codes – Information from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR – December 7, 2020

COVIDSafe Summer Restrictions – Message from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR – December 6, 2020

Letter from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR regarding COVIDsafe Practices – November 25, 2020

Message from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR in relation to easing of restrictions – November 23, 2020.

Information here on the provisions for ceremonies and gatherings in places of worship for regional Victoria – October 28, 2020

Message from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR in relation to the Third Step – easing of restrictions – September 16, 2020.

Cancellation of Chrism Mass for 2020 letter from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR here – August 19, 2020.

Information from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR regarding the re-introduction of stage 3 restrictions in regional Victoria here – August 5, 2020.

Announcement from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR regarding further restrictions of Stage 2 in some local government areas and the compulsory wearing of masks – July 30, 2020.

Advice from the National Liturgical Music Council on the liturgical ministry of choirs during the pandemic here – July 28, 2020.

Click here for information from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR re maintaining current coronavirus restrictions for churches and chapels – June 21, 2020.

Latest information from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR regarding the increase of numbers allowed for Mass here – May 16, 2020.

Further information from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR on gatherings in places of worship restrictions from June 1, 2020 here.

Letter from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR on gatherings in places of worship restrictions from June 1, 2020 here.

Click here for details of a new national registry to help churches track cases of COVID-19 in a bid to keep parishioners safe during the pandemic.

Letter from the Bishops of Victoria can be read here – May 14, 2020.

Information regarding gathering in our Churches here from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR May 12, 2020.

Click here for informaton regarding easing of COVID-19 restrictions from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR May 12, 2020.

Catholic Health Australia latest media release here May 15, 2020.

Information regarding the celebration of the Chrism Mass (Mass of the Oils) in the diocese in 2020 here from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR March 27, 2020.

Further information about measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus here – March 24, 2020.

Victorian directive regarding places of worship – click here for the letter from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR issued March 23, 2020.  Places of worship also includes chapels.

Click here for the letter from Bishop Paul Bird CSsR.  This letter follows on from the Victorian Bishop’s letter issued March 18 and inclues some additional notes for our diocese of Ballarat.

Click here for letter from the Catholic Bishops of Victoria – March 18, 2020.

See here for information from the Australian Catholic Bishop’s Conference.  The Bishops Conference is providing resources to support people’s prayer life, including links to online Masses and a Sunday prayer resource. They can be accessed on this page.

Latest advice on COVID 19 from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services can be found here.

Catholic Health Australia also offer advice.

  • St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne:  Mass is streamed live daily Monday – Friday at 1.00pm.  Saturday Mass is at 8.00am and Sunday Mass is at 11.00am .  Live and recorded Masses can be watched here.  On Sundays, the 11.00am Mass is also available to view free-to-air TV via C31 (channel 44 on digital TV).
  • Foxtel Aurora:  Mass every Sunday at 6.00am on channel 173.
  • CathNews YouTube Channel:   Daily Mass on Demand here.
  • From the Bishop’s House Chapel in the Cairns Diocese: Streamed dialy on YouTube here.
  • Pope Francis’ daily Mass: Pope Francis’ daily Masses are available online through the Vatican’s website and YouTube channel. Watch here.
  • Mass for You at Home: This program has been allowing the faithful to participate in Mass from their homes for many years. Mass for You at Home is broadcast on Eleven and Network Ten on Sundays and Aurora Channel on Foxtel every day. Watch here or at 10play here.
  • Word on Fire: Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and founder of Word on Fire, Bishop Robert Barron has been using new media to evangelise for over a decade. Watch daily Mass at 8.15am here.
  • EWTN Global Catholic Network:  Daily Catholic Mass here.

Radio Broadcasts of Sunday Mass:

Light FM 89.9:  Sunday at 7.00am.
The Pulse FM 94.7:  Sunday at 10.00am.


  • Sunday Scripture video reflections:  Provided by Fr John McKinnon, Priest of the Diocese of Ballarat.
  • Sunday Scripture reflections:  Provided by Sr Veronica Lawson rsm are on the diocesan website.
  • LiturgyHelp:  Access to a website with resources for the people of the Ballarat diocese.  Click here for the flyer, which contains information on how to access the site.  Please be aware that this is not the full version of LiturgyHelp.  Parishes in the Ballarat diocese who already subscribe to LiturgyHelp continue to have their full access to the much broader resources. They should log in as they normally would and may continue to distribute any resources as necessary.  Updates will be provided on the LiturgyHelp facebook page.
  • Pray at home:  Resources provided by the Australian Catholic Bishop’s Conference.
  • Pray as you Go:  Daily prayer session, designed to go with you wherever you go, to help you pray whenever you find time, but particularly whilst travelling to and from work, study, etc.
  • Sacred Space: 10 minute prayer and reflection.
  • The Liturgy of the Hours:  Prayed at certain times throughout the day.
  • Universalis: Mass Readings and prayers, Liturgy of the Hours.
  • Ignatian Spirituality:  Ignatian Wisdom for Troubled Times.
  • Seeking Stillness Playlist from Gen Bryant.  Beautiful psalm music and Gospel meditations.
  • Other helpful websites are the Catholic Diocese of Sandhurst and the Archdiocese of Melbourne.

Family Activities:

  • Strong Catholic Family Faith:  Tips to help parents talk with children about the coronavirus, a list of fun and educational things to do with kids at home and more.
  • Tiny Saints:  Free downloads and activities for families who may miss school, Mass and other events.
  • CathFamily:  Weekly interactive experience with a short animated video on the Sunday reading, questions to stimulate discussion, a simple activity and prayer.
  • Sermons 4 Kids: Scripture story reflections, activities such as colouring-in sheets. Shared by different churches.
  • Sunday Connection:  Gospel resources for children of different ages. Detailed Lesson Plans
  • JClub for Kids:  Resources for kids and families. Stories, Activities, Media.
  • Young Catholic Mums:  Melbourne based. Resources for families.
  • Catholic Kids:  Prayers, stories, activities.
  • St Mary’s Press: Reflections for young people and children, updated daily.
  • Catholic Icing:  Catholic crafts and more for kids.

Statement from the Vicar General, Fr Kevin Maloney can be read below (2020):

I never thought we would be in the situation of not celebrating public Masses and heading into insolation and deep distress.

The next few months will bring hardship and pain.  We need to be conscious that we are “the People of God” and act accordingly.  Hopefully love of God and respect for neighbour will sustain us as we move forward.

I realise that some of the information distributed will not please all, but all groups and bodies need to pull together and help create situations that are life giving and lead to a strengthening of community.

Statement from the Diocesan Business Manager, Andrew Jirik can be read below (2020):

With the immediate suspension of public liturgies until further notice, a number of parishioners have already expressed concern for the welfare of their priests, especially around their income support via the first collection.

The Diocese of Ballarat has a fund that will be able to support parish priests and their presbytery, financially through this unprecedented period.

The Ballarat Clergy Assistance Fund is an association of the Ballarat diocesan clergy, under the auspices of the Bishop, to ensure adequate remuneration for all diocesan clergy.  The BCAF is designed to assist the Ballarat diocesan clergy in matters related to their financial welfare throughout their life of ministry.  Whilst not significant, the BCAF has over its 22 year history accumulated reserves that will be further drawn on to support your local priest.  Currently this Fund supports priests where the first collection does not cover their costs, including those of the presbytery, and whilst Masses are not going ahead this support, will simply be extended to all parishes.

If you would like to make a contribution to the Ballarat Clergy Assistance Fund or your parish, please contact your parish. 

Statement from Audrey Brown, Director of Catholic Education can be read below (2020):

Catholic Education Ballarat is working with the government and independent school sectors, and acting on the latest advice provided by the Australian and Victorian Chief Medical Officers to the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria Ltd, to ensure that our practices are helping to keep our school communities safe from the outbreak.

As parents/guardians, you have a critical role in helping the school manage this situation:

  • Exercise good judgment by keeping children home if they are feeling unwell for any reason
  • Talk to children about the situation, as they may be feeling anxious or stressed. You have a key role in helping students feel prepared and safe
  • Encourage children to be proactive and committed to their schoolwork, and to stay connected with the school and their teachers.

Please be advised that this is a rapidly evolving situation and therefore advice to school communities will change quickly. Parents/guardians should pay attention to all information and advice from their child’s school relating to their community’s response to coronavirus.