The coronavirus (COVID-19) is continuing to be a growing concern for health authorities worldwide and as at 12 March, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared this matter a pandemic.

Queensland Health and the Australian Department of Health are working tirelessly to manage and contain the impact of this virus for Australians and Queenslanders alike. You can access the latest information about the virus at  The Catholic Diocese of Townsville continues to work closely with its agencies including Townsville Catholic Education, Mary MacKillop Childcare North Queensland, Centacare and Saints Catholic College and the relevant state authorities, including Queensland Health, to monitor the situation and identify and manage any impacts. You can be assured that we have been preparing and stand ready to act should the need arise.

In addition to the advice of our State and Commonwealth health authorities we would like to advise the measures we will implement for the Diocese as part of our duty of care and commitment to the safety of all members of our communities. We will update this information as circumstances change in line with the professional advice we receive.

General preventatives

  • Individuals should consider their own health, including any potential to infect others with a contagious disease, before attending any public liturgical celebration
  • Sufficient and accessible preventative supplies to reduce the spread of COVID-19 (e.g. provision of hand washing facilities or hand hygiene products, and bins)
  • Posters and Notices should be displayed and circulated stating any guidance or changes in practice. 
  • Implement cleaning measures before, during and after gatherings with a focus to the cleaning of commonly touched surfaces (i.e. door handles, light switches, musical instruments, desks, keyboards etc.)
  • Consider alternative options for thanksgiving collections that do not require passing of containers (e.g. leaving collection). 
Guidelines for changed liturgical practices (25 May 2021)

Bishop Tim Harris has released a letter to the People of the Diocese of Townsville outlining changes to Liturgical practices due to COVID-19. 

Updated COVID Safe practices - 25 May 2021

Special Dispensation granted (18 March 2020)

A special dispensation has been granted to those members of the community who are over 70 years of age and older and those who are sick and infirm and have underlying health issues.

Read: Special dispensation letter to the community

Special message to the people of the Diocese (20 March 2020)

Before the weekend Masses that are permitted around the Townsville Diocese, considering the Commonwealth Government restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings.

Read: Message to the Priests and People of the Diocese

Pastoral letter to the Clergy and Faithful of the Diocese of Townsville regarding the latest instructions in response to COVID-19 Pandemic (24 March 2020)

Read: Pastoral letter

Read: Decree on the Dispensation from the Obligation of Sunday Mass

Prayer in this time of Crisis 

Almighty and all-merciful God,

Lover of the human race, healer of all our wounds,

In who, there is no shadow of death,

Save us in this time of crisis:

Grant wisdom and courage to our leaders;

Watch over all medical people

As they tend to the sick and work for a cure;

Stir in us a sense of solidarity beyond all isolation;

If our doors are closed, let our hearts be open.

By the power of your love destroy the virus of fear,

That hope may never die

And the light of Easter, the triumph of life,

May shine upon us and the whole world.

Through Jesus Christ, the Lord risen from the dead,

Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.



Holy Mary, health of the sick, pray for us.

St Joseph, guardian of us all, pray for us.

Road Map to Reopening Churches

After weeks of lockdown measures we are now on the cusp of a gradual relaxing of COVID-19 restrictions. The Queensland Government has released a 3 Stage roadmap and this week I have  written to priests, pastoral leaders and parish council chairs about a common approach to opening up our Churches to increased numbers for ordinary Masses. 

My request has been that, before a parish can accept increased numbers at general liturgies, it must have in place a COVIDSafe Plan, approved by me, that ensures implementation of pandemic protection directives at each stage of the roadmap. Resources have been sent to parishes, including a Diocesan Template for a Parish COVIDSafe Plan and material to help parishes think through the measures that need to be put in place in order to comply with serious WHS responsibilities regarding parishioners, workers/volunteers and visitors. This is an ongoing pandemic. Once a parish has its plan approved by me it can open its Church/es for general liturgies to the extent that government safety directives allow.

Bearing all of the above in mind I have taken what I believe to be a sensible approach in not allowing any change until Stage 2 commencing on the weekend of 13/14 June. That provides a small window of time for parishes to properly prepare and send me their proposed COVIDSafe Plans. Parishes then need to organise the implementation of their plans. We all need to remember that this is not just about us and our life as Catholic communities. It’s about everyone in this region and we must play our part in keeping all our fellow citizens free from this virus.

On that note, I strongly encourage all to download the COVIDSAFE tracing app to your mobile phone. Queensland regional areas have had a good record in terms of infection numbers and containing the spread. The tracing app will help curtail any future outbreak.

Diocese of Townsville Mandates Vaccination for all employees and volunteers

Catholic Bishop of Townsville Most Rev. Tim Harris has mandated all Townsville Diocese agency employees and volunteers (excluding staff of Townsville Catholic Education schools and colleges) be vaccinated by December 17.

“The safety and protection of our parishioners, employees and volunteers continues to be a high priority. We’ve seen witness to this over the past 18 months through the challenging protocols each parish and agency has had to adhere to in order to ensure safe places of employment and places of worship for our community.” he said.

With the Queensland borders set to open in December and the expected increase in numbers of COVID-19 infections across Queensland, the Diocese felt that it was appropriate for the protection for staff and the community that the Diocese take this approach.

Bishop Tim said, “while our Churches will remain open to both the vaccinated and un-vaccinated under the Queensland government protocols, it is important that we are seen as being on the front foot in protecting our staff and volunteers as well as those who come into our Churches and those who require the support of our agencies.”

“We have over 5 million people who have lost their lives around the world because of this virus. The hysteria by those against vaccination is endangering lives and this must be condemned. All the best medical advice says “get vaccinated,“ this is what I have encouraged during the pandemic and that is what this policy is all about” he said.

Bishop Tim has encouraged the entire community to get vaccinated for the sake of each other especially the vulnerable in the community.

He said, “we should not forget as well that we have indigenous communities on our doorstep, we need to get vaccinated for them too.”

“We do it as an act of love as Pope Francis says. We do it because it is the right thing to do. The conspiracy theories must stop.”

This policy covers all agencies under the control of the Roman Catholic Trust Corporation for the Diocese of Townsville and include Priests, Parishes, Centacare North Queensland, Saints Catholic College, Mary MacKillop Childcare North Queensland, North West Indigenous Catholic Social Services and Townsville Catholic Education (not including staff at schools and colleges).

Diocese of Townsville Vaccination Policy

Vaccination Policy FAQ's

What should I do if I can’t go to Mass?

If you are unable to be present at a celebration of the Eucharist, we encourage you to participate in other ways such as spending time in personal and family prayer, reflecting on and praying with the Scriptures (particularly the Mass readings), praying with the Sunday readings, making a Stations of the Cross, praying the Rosary, making an Act of Spiritual Communion (see below) and participating in Mass online (see more below). Further information about opportunities for Sacrament of Reconciliation, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and times of private prayer in parishes will follow, however, churches will remain open.

What is an Act of Spiritual Communion and how do I make one?

Catholics have long been encouraged to partake in the practice of “spiritual communion” if they are unable to receive the Eucharist for a particular reason (for instance – being homebound). Simply put, it is coming before the Lord in prayer – expressing our deep desire to be united to Him despite the fact that we are unable to be united to Him in receiving the Eucharist. In making an Act of Spiritual Communion we ask the Lord to give us the graces that would come to us if we were able to receive Him sacramentally (Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity). Reciting the prayer written by St. Alphonsus Liguori below is simple and common way of making an Act of Spiritual Communion.

An Act of Spiritual Communion

My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.

I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul.

Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,

come at least spiritually into my heart.

I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You.

Never permit me to be separated from You.


Online Mass options

Ingham Parish

Fr Damian McGrath is streaming his Daily and Weekend Masses from the Chapel -
Monday to Thursday – 5.30pm – with rosary at 5.15pm
Friday – 7.00am
Saturday Vigil – 6.00pm – with rosary at 5.45pm
Sunday Morning – 8.30am – with rosary at 8.15am

Pope Francis’ daily Mass

Pope Francis’ daily Masses are now available online through the Vatican’s website and YouTube channel. They are expected to continue to be available throughout the upcoming weeks.
Watch here:

Mass for You at Home

This program has been allowing the faithful – particularly those with mobility problems – 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. It is also the fourth-longest running television show in Australia.
Watch here: or

Fr Rob Galea

Fr Rob Galea is an ordained Catholic Priest and is currently serving in Sandhurst Diocese, Victoria after moving to Australia from Malta, his home country. He is a singer and songwriter with an international fan base. He is also preparing a number of one minute videos. They can be found on his Facebook page.

Watch here:

CathNews Daily Mass

CathNews on YouTube is one of the CathNews platforms on the web and social media. Here, you will find videos about Catholics and Catholicism from at home and around the world.

Helpful Prayer links and apps

Liturgical resources for this Sunday, the 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Catholic Calendar: There is no better app for the readings and for the official daily prayer than this app by Universalis. When you select the Australian Calendar, it will match the translation to our readings and prayers. Available for Apple and for Android.

Catholic Leader is offering free access to their digital newspaper for readers to access until parishes reopen across the country. It is their commitment to ensure that everybody has access to stories of connection, inspiration, and faith.
We will also have up-to-date daily news published on our website and shared to our social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We will strive to maintain our reputation as a truthful, Catholic news service for leaders locally, across the province and beyond. 
Thank you for helping us to share the Good News and we pray that all Catholics who feel disconnected will find hope, purpose, and renewed faith from our content

Lenten Program - The Catholic Diocese of Wollongong has made the digital download of their Lenten Program CD, Grace, available for free. Visit their store to access the free download.

Catholic Podcast – ‘The Journey’ available for free for your community.
The Journey Podcast is an Australian Catholic Podcast  - produced weekly with an estimated 80,000 listeners each week. It is in 20 Christian Radio Stations around Australia, but also made available for at no cost Catholic Dioceses and organisations to make available to their communities.
Hosted each week by Jude Hennessy – the one hour program features some great Catholic speakers, including Mother Hilda Scott, Dr Byron and Francine Pirola, Sam Clear, Trish McCarthy, Pete Gilmore and a variety of Religious providing formation. There is a weekly reflection on the Sunday Gospel and wonderful worship music.
Simply go to to listen or sign up to get the show sent to you each week. is a free daily prayer service, providing you with reflections on the day’s Gospel readings as well as other articles exploring people’s experiences of God. Each day they bring you reflections on the Gospel readings to help you connect with God in your life, while their blog is updated weekly. The service is supported by Madonna magazine, and the Australian Jesuits.

Magnificat offers Morning Prayer, Mass Readings, Evening Prayer and a variety of Daily Meditations. They are offering free access during this time of crisis. They are also offering free access to their apple and android apps if you sign up.

Give Us This Day are also offering free access to their resources which include Morning and Evening Prayer, Mass Readings, daily reflections on the readings and a daily Saint to meet.

Pray As You Go offers guided meditations on each day’s Gospel as well as examinations of conscience, the decades of the rosary, guided reflections on everything from insomnia to anxiety, and simple guided recordings for entering into prayer. They have apps for Apple and Android.

Hallow App is offering a three month free trial during this time of crisis. They have a website and apps for Apple and Android. You can meditate on the Church’s Daily Gospel passage and pray through the daily mysteries of the Rosary as well as over 300 sessions on different forms of prayer such as different techniques including Christian Meditation, the Examen, Taize Chant, Spiritual Writing, and Lectio Divina.

Sacred Space, a production of the Irish Jesuits, offers a guided prayer for each day with inspiration to help you centre yourself and a reflection on the day’s Gospel. There is also a printed version at the link if you would like to use this without technology or as a couple or family. And, of course, there is an app for that for both Apple and Android.