CELEBRATE WITH US
I’m delighted to be able to tell you that from next Tuesday evening (7th July) we will be able to celebrate Mass in the church, with a congregation! We have waited a long time for this moment, it is an answer to our prayers.
But, as you might expect, things will be different.
Firstly we have to limit the number of people who can be in church at any one time. This is so that we can continue to observe the two metre social distance that we have all become used to. Using only half the pews will enable us to do this. We will also need to limit the number of people who sit in each pew. If you come with your family, or your ‘bubble’ or other members of your household, you will be able to sit together. If you come on your own we will only be able to have two people per pew. This will mean at least 36 people can attend Mass, but it will probably be a few more.
So please be generous. Try to come on a weekday and leave the weekend Masses for those who are working. We have three evening Masses during the week to help facilitate this as well.
And please be generous if you are not able to get into the church because we have reached our capacity. We don’t want to turn anyone away, but it won’t be possible to ‘squeeze you in at the back’!
Stewards will welcome you as you arrive and take you to your seat. We ask you to remain there until the end of the Mass when the stewards will guide you to leave the church. If you have to wait when you arrive, please be patient.
After Mass the stewards will clean the church in readiness for the next Mass. This is no mean feat and I am extremely grateful to all those who have volunteered. Without them we would not be able to gather.
Mass will be shorter than usual. This is to minimise the time we are indoors together. There will be no singing or offertory procession and the homily will be short! This will no doubt delight and disappoint you in equal measure!
If you are able and would like to read at Mass please let the steward or Fr Jonathan know when you arrive. You will approach the altar in the normal way, but are encouraged not to touch the microphone or the ambo. Wearing plastic gloves, which will be provided, you will only touch the book to turn the page. At the moment we won’t have any servers and no one will be permitted to enter the sacristy.
Holy Communion will be distributed as you leave the church. You will receive the host only on your hand, making sure there is no physical contact. It will be strange, I will be wearing gloves, it will be done in silence, but it is the Lord we are receiving. Thank goodness our eucharistic fast will be over.
If you are in the vulnerable group of elderly parishioners or have underlying health issues I would ask you to seriously consider whether you should come to Mass. The obligation to attend Mass on Sunday continues to be suspended. If you are in any way nervous, please feel no obligation or compulsion to come. You must look after yourself. I know you will be sensible.
I will continue to record a Sunday Mass and post it on the parish Facebook page and YouTube channel. We will soon have the ability to live stream from the church so you will be able to watch Mass safely in the comfort of your own home. But not in your pyjamas, please!
I’m sure you’ll understand that we will not be able to open the church at other times during the day, we simply do not have the manpower to steward and clean.
Lastly, and very importantly, the toilet facilities in the St Richard Reynolds Centre will NOT be available. This is to minimise risk of contamination and the spread of the virus. I’m sure this will change in the future but at the moment, sadly, we have made the decision to keep them closed.
And the very last thing to say is that the arrangements could change so you will need to keep your eye on the newsletter, the Facebook page and the notice on the door of the church. We all want to find a new routine, but it will probably take some time.
Please continue to pray for those who are still being affected by Covd-19. The virus has not gone away and we all need to be vigilant. Ask God to be with those who are struggling, to bring them peace. And pray for me please and all those who are working so hard to enable us to worship God together. May his grace strengthen us all.
Mass Times this week
Sunday 8.45am, 10.45am, 6.00pm