Victorian Catholic bishops have stopped masses, but services proceeding in Diocese of Wagga

Silent this Easter: Masses will not be staged during Christianity's holiest week at Wodonga's Catholic church after a decision by Victorian bishops influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Silent this Easter: Masses will not be staged during Christianity's holiest week at Wodonga's Catholic church after a decision by Victorian bishops influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic.

ALL public masses in Catholic churches in Victoria have been halted due to the coronavirus.

Bishops from across the state on Wednesday night announced the move in a letter following the ban on indoor gatherings of more than 100.

The decision means Easter masses will not be held.

Bishop of Sandhurst Shane Mackinlay, who oversees the North East, acknowledged it would hurt the faithful.

"This is very distressing news to share with you, and will be a dramatic change in the faith life of our communities," Bishop Mackinlay said.

"We should expect that it will continue for some time into the future."

Funerals, weddings and baptisms may proceed with as small a number in attendance as possible.

However, the same message was not sent to Catholic churches in the Wagga diocese yesterday following the new regulations.

MORE CORONAVIRUS NEWS:

Lavington priest Brendan Lee said the directive issued from his superiors was that masses would be held with no more than 100 parishioners and those over 75 discouraged from going.

A duty to attend Sunday mass has also been lifted.

Meanwhile, the Magistrates' Court of Victoria on Wednesday announced various changes in response to the coronavirus crisis.

They include extending first listing of matters on summons to at least 20 weeks and similarly where an accused is on bail extending to at least 12 weeks.

Audio visual link technology will be used to maximum capacity to limit in-person appearances in court

There will be no change to listing times for family violence fast track matters with 28 days for summons and seven days for bail.

School visits to courts will also be stopped indefinitely.

In other coronavirus fallout, the Swings and Roundabouts Festival planned for Beechworth next month has been cancelled.

In the wake of the summer bushfire crisis, city chefs planned to donate their time and skills to a series of events from April 17 to May 25.

RACV shops across Victoria have also been shutdown.

That means the automobile club's store that fronts High Street, Wodonga, is not open.

We have removed our paywall from our stories about the coronavirus. This is a rapidly changing situation and we want to make sure our readers are as informed as possible. If you would like to support our journalists you can subscribe here

This story No Easter masses at Catholic churches in Victoria first appeared on The Border Mail.