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Churches can open for limited private prayer this weekend, more people allowed at other liturgies

Churches reopen: An aerial shot of St Stephen’s Cathedral and chapel, in Brisbane’s Elizabeth Street, with the Brisbane River in the back lefthand corner.

BRISBANE archdiocese has announced churches that are in the position to do so are allowed to open for private prayer for up to 10 people at a time from 11:59pm on May 15.

Strict rules remain in place and church occupancy must be monitored at all times by a designated marshal, who is not over 70 years of age, an archdiocesan communication said.

The marshal must record names, phone numbers and times of visitation for each visitor for contact tracing if necessary.

Not all parishes will be able to have the capacity to do this, but these qualifications must be met for the churches that wish to open for private prayer.

No one is to enter a church, parish building or archdiocesan workplace if they are feeling ill.

The celebration of Mass continues to be suspended at this time, though priests will continue to celebrate Mass on Sundays without a congregation for people to follow livestreamed Masses from their parish or St Stephen’s Cathedral.

Socially responsible: This picture taken in March shows parishioners practice social distancing as they attend morning prayer on Monday March 23. (St Joseph the Worker and Our Lady of the Broom, Hemmant) Photo Mark Bowling.

Brisbane parishes have also eased restrictions for some sacraments.

Funerals may be conducted with a maximum of 20 people indoors or 30 outdoors, weddings and baptisms can be conducted with up to 10 people, and Masses for the people will increase to 10 people in attendance, which includes the camera operator of a livestream.

These protocols will be in effect until June 12 and are subject to change according to Queensland Health Guidelines.

The changed conditions come as Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk reduced restrictions across the state from May 16.

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