Masses in New Zealand remain suspended after level 2 “curveball”

Sunday Masses remain suspended in some dioceses in New Zealand by order of their Bishops after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern threw a “curveball” by announcing that indoor gatherings would be limited to 50 people as one of the measures for a new “Delta” alert level 2. Other parts of the country, such as Auckland, are under a level four alert.

Hamilton Bishop Stephen Lowe, at a livestreamed Mass on September 7, said this revised restriction created “an issue for our celebration of the Eucharist”.

“This was a real curveball. We were all set up for our parishes for the previous restriction for level 2. We thought there will be some changes, but the number of restrictions caught us unaware. To that end, I’ve made the difficult decision that Masses in the diocese of Hamilton will remain suspended, with the exception of funerals and those weddings that are already booked in,” the bishop announced towards the end of the livestreamed Mass.

He said this decision will be reviewed next week as he called on people to watch out for further announcements on the diocesan website.