The Southern Cross The Southern Cross

Read the latest edition. Latest edition

Catholics during COVID - how and what did we do?


A new national survey is exploring how Australian Catholics responded to church closures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Comments Print article

The online survey based at Monash University is asking about worship choices made by practising Catholics during the pandemic, and about what impact this might have had on their spiritual wellbeing.

The study is part of a fourth-year psychology project by Monash psychology student Philippa Martyr, who is interested in mapping Catholic worship responses to the pandemic.

“During the church closures, I met Catholics who were able to benefit from watching livestreamed Masses. But I also met others who found this difficult and spiritually unsatisfying,” she said.

“So I would really like to know what choices Catholics made about accessing different forms of worship, and look at some of the reasons why.”

The survey is open to anyone who is a practising Catholic aged 18 years or more, and who is comfortable with reading English. Participants can respond anonymously up until early October. It takes around 10 minutes to complete, and most answers involve choosing one response from a list.

All Australian places of worship closed on March 23 and did not begin reopening until early June 2020. This meant that for the first time in almost a century, Australian Catholics could not celebrate Easter publicly.

Some churches are currently facing closure once more, while in other parts of Australia, Catholics are returning to regular worship.

“It would also be good to find out if Australian Catholics are recovering spiritually from church closures, and if they are coming back to Mass in greater numbers now,” Martyr said.

“It’s possible that next time we have a pandemic, it might be possible to do things better – to help more people to find worship choices that meet their spiritual needs and are safe for everyone.

“There’s a long explanatory statement for you to read at the beginning – that’s probably the hardest part of the survey!”

“But it tells you in more detail why I’m doing the study. It also explains what to do if you want a summary of the results when the study is completed.”

To complete the survey:

For more information about the project, contact Philippa Martyr at or Josie O’Donohue at



Show comments Hide comments
Will my comment be published? Read the guidelines.

More National stories

Loading next article