Previous COVID 19 letters

THE BLESSED SACRAMENT CATHOLIC CHURCH

Copenhagen Street

Postal Address: 39 Duncan
Terrace, Islington, London
N1 8AL

Email: copenhagenstreet@rcdow.org.uk

Tel: 020 7226 3277    

 

 

Dear
Parishioners and friends,

TOWARDS A
PHASED RE-OPENING OF OUR CHURCH

This weekend we celebrate the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity which begins the Ordinary Sundays of the Church’s year after the celebration of Lent and Easter.  It is also the ‘Twelfth Sunday in Lockdown’ – next weekend marking a whole quarter of the year since we were able to join together in Church for the celebration of Mass and the Sacraments! 

You may have heard on the news last weekend the Cardinal’s plea to the Government to allow for the opening of churches and other places of worship. It does seem ridiculous to us that bookstores and garden centres as well as other ‘non-essential’ businesses are now able to open up while our churches are not.

The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales have put a set of proposals to the Government, in consultation with Public Health Authorities, for the safe opening of our churches in keeping with the current health and social-distancing protocols.

One of the key elements in the Bishops’ proposals is the identifying of people in our parishes who would be willing to act as ‘stewards’ in managing the flow of people into church.  It does seem likely that at the beginning of July we will be allowed to open for people to come into church for individual prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament. However, there is, as yet, no sign of us being able to gather in larger groups for the celebration of Mass or the Sacraments. If we can manage the individual prayer we will get good practice for the future possibility
of public acts of worship.

While it will be relatively easy to put in place the necessary two-metre spacing still required, and the provision of hand sanitizers as well as a one way system for entering and leaving the church, the most important element in the phased re-opening will be the stewards.

I am therefore asking if any of you might please be willing to join a team of stewards to assist in the opening of the church. Obviously you cannot be a member of any group deemed to be at risk. Your services should only be needed for an hour or two on the days we plan to open. Training will be provided, as will the required PPE for this key role. Quite simply put, if we cannot identify stewards we cannot open up! 

Please let me know if you are willing to be a steward – by e-mailing the parish, leaving a message via the parish phone number or just posting a note through the Presbytery letter box at 39 Duncan Terrace.

Thank you for your messages asking how we priests are managing. We are doing well despite the complete lack of contact with the majority of you!  Fr Allan is honing his skills as our barber – both Fr Larry and I have now undergone two lockdown haircuts! 

We continue to offer Mass for your intentions in the Church and look forward to seeing you back in the benches soon!

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,   as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be world without end. Amen!

Fr Séamus

Parish Priest

6.vi.2020

 

 

Added 23/04/2020


THE BLESSED SACRAMENT CATHOLIC CHURCH

Copenhagen Street

Dear Parishioners and Friends

Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed!

We are already into the second week of Eastertide – normally a time of joyful celebration in the Church, this year muted by the continuing nightmare of the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet our Easter faith tells us that the Light of Christ rising in glory will banish the darkness of our world. That Light is to be found in the brave and dedicated professionalism of all those in the frontline
combatting the virus, it is there in the many scientists working hard to find vaccines, and in the heart-warming tales of so many acts of generosity and kindness. Wherever there is love and loving kindness God is there! Christ’s Light is there!

Thank you for kindly asking after the wellbeing of Sr Miriam, Sr Paulette, Fr Larry, Fr Allan and me!  We are managing well thank God.  Sadly, the priests’ main ministry at the moment is with families arranging funerals for loved ones who have died because of Covid-19 or other natural causes. It is so tough for them not to have been able to say goodbye properly to those they loved, or to be able to give the families the comfort of a Funeral Mass in church. Please keep these bereaved families in your prayers.

My apologies to those who have been trying to contact us by phone!  The parish phone system crashed on us nearly two weeks ago. An engineer finally came out to try and fix the problem, but to no avail.  Apparently, it is a cable fault and so requires a cable engineer to visit! If you try phoning us, you get a continuous ringing tone – which is more than we hear! I hope this is remedied soon.

The paid parish staff have been furloughed in keeping with guidance from the HR department of the Diocese.  I am sure that many of you are in a similar situation. This means, of course, that the parish office is currently closed. Neither Lisa the secretary nor Oscar our bookkeeper is working. Some of you have been enquiring about how to make your regular donation to the parish, or if you are members of our Planned Giving scheme, when you might receive your new boxes of Offertory envelopes. The answer to that question is – I don’t know – Oscar does!

If, however, you are in the fortunate position of being able to make a financial contribution to the parish you could please do so by direct electronic transfer. Here are the parish bank account details:

           
HSBC a/c:  WRCDT Blessed Sacrament Church


Sortcode: 40-05-20
a/c no: 91308661

At Easter we were due to welcome into the Church through Baptism and the other Sacraments of Initiation a number of adults in this year’s RCIA group. It was quite a let-down for them, the lead catechist David, Sr Miriam, and indeed the priests, not to be able to celebrate with them the Easter Vigil which we were all so much looking forward to. Also, over the coming weeks we were supposed to be sharing in the joy of families whose youngsters were making their First Holy Communion or being Confirmed. Those celebrations will have to be re-arranged after the lifting of restrictions.

We continue to offer Mass for you and your intentions in the empty church, with that clock at the back ticking loudly! We are all looking forward to the day when we can come together once more as a worshipping community. In the meantime, let us hold each other up in prayer.

God love you and bless you!

Fr Séamus

Parish Priest

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THE BLESSED SACRAMENT CATHOLIC
CHURCH

Copenhagen Street

 


Dear Parishioners and Friends


It is ‘Spy Wednesday’ as I write this – the middle of what has been a very unusual Holy Week for us all.  Tomorrow we begin the great ‘Three Days’ of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday leading up to the joyous Feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord – Easter! It will be strange indeed not to be celebrating these keys days of our faith without you being present in person.


Fr Allan, Fr Larry and I, together with Sr Miriam and Sr Paulette, will be remembering you in prayer – please try to do the same for us and your fellow parishioners so that we at least are united in spirit!


I celebrated Palm Sunday Mass at Blessed Sacrament all by myself. I thought of you and imagined you sitting in the benches in the Church.  I must admit that, on a couple of occasions during the Mass, I could have burst into tears! But I did notice something that I have never noticed before….that
the clock at the back of the Church actually ticks quite loudly! It was so quiet and still that it was really noticeable.  I hope not to be able to hear it once more when we are all back together and filling the space!


Pope Francis set the scene for these important days when he said the following at the General Audience in the Vatican this morning. He has a wonderful way of choosing just the right words to say:


Dear Brothers and Sisters: At this time of anxiety and suffering caused by the current pandemic, we all face uncertainty and may ask where God is to be found in this situation.
During these days of Holy Week, we can find solace in the account of the Passion of Jesus. Our Lord also faced questions, with many wondering
whether he really was the promised Messiah. It was only after his death that a centurion confirmed that Jesus truly was the Son of God. He did this after seeing Christ suffer silently on the cross, which teaches us that God’s power is revealed in humble and self-sacrificial love. We, like the disciples, may have preferred the Lord to manifest his strength by resolving our problems according to our own measure of what is right. Yet the death and resurrection of Jesus show that while earthly power passes away, only love endures forever. Dear brothers and sisters let us draw courage from our crucified and risen Lord, who embraces our fragility, heals our sins, and draws us close to him, transforming our doubts into faith and our fears into hope.

Amen!

Cardinal Vincent will be celebrating the Holy Week ceremonies in Westminster Cathedral and they will be livestreamed together with Easter Sunday Mass.  Why not try and join those celebrations via: www.westminstercathedral.org.uk

Let’s keep each other in prayer and remember especially those who are suffering with the effects of Covid-19 both near and far. Of course, we must continue to pray for our wonderful NHS workers at the frontline.

I hope to see you soon – but in the meantime send my love and prayers.

Stay safe and well!

Fr. Séamus

Parish Priest

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Updated: 28 March 2020

Our Archbishop, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, published a statement on the 24th of March saying that following on from the Prime Minister’s message on Monday 23rd March, churches in the Diocese of Westminster are to close with immediate effect and to remain closed until further notice. “As our churches have to remain closed” he says, “let’s open our hearts even wider. As the Psalms say ‘Grow higher ancient doors and let the King of Glory enter.’ These are the doors of our hearts. God knows well how to fill our lives. We must open our hearts in prayer and silent welcome.

For the full statement, click on the tab “Advice on Coronavirus” For faith resources in this time click “Online Mass Schedule” and “Resources during Mass Suspension”. You can find Wednesday Word on line as well.

 

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THE BLESSED SACRAMENT CATHOLIC CHURCH
Copenhagen Street

Email: copenhagenstreet@rcdow.org.uk
Tel: 020 7226 3277

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)
Dear Parishioners,
In response to  the  Coronavirus  pandemic,  so  many  aspects  of  our  lives  must  change. Following  official  advice  and  in  order  to  keep  each  other  safe,  save  lives  and  support  the  NHS,  at  this  time our Bishops have directed that we must  not  gather  for  public  acts  of  worship  in  our  churches. This will take effect from Friday evening, 20th March 2020, until further notice.
Our  church  will  remain  open for a few hours each Sunday.    It is not closing. In visiting the church at this time, please  observe  with  great  care  the  practices  of  hygiene  and  the  guidance  on  social  distancing. However, the celebration of one Mass here, Sunday by Sunday, will take place without a public congregation.
The second vital aspect of these challenging times is our care for each other.  There are many ways in which we can do this: being attentive to the needs of our neighbour, especially   those who are elderly   and   vulnerable;   contributing   to   our  food   bank;   volunteering for charitable initiatives and organisations; simply keeping in touch by all the means open to us.
The Cardinal has written a letter to us all about these unprecedented times – there are copies on the table by the door. There is also a list of parishes in the Diocese where Mass is livestreamed on the internet. That list is on the table as well.
Let us continue to pray for each other, for those who are sick, those caring for them in the NHS, and all those working hard to find remedies and a vaccine for the virus.

May God bless us all!
Fr Séamus
Parish Priest

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