Changes for worship from 19th July
Bishops’ guidance for our churches to Step 4 of the road map
As the country moves into Step 4 of the Roadmap, the guidance emphasises that responsibility is now held at the local level by understanding of the local situation of the virus and its transmission (along with vaccination rates etc.) and by making a risk assessment built around the principles. You can find a statement from the Bishops and the full guidance from them on the parish website https://parish.rcdow.org.uk/hitchin/coronavirus-information-and-updates/
It is important that over this period of transition we help people to feel as safe in our church as they have done over the last sixteen months. A gradual easing of restrictions is suggested with some ongoing mitigation of risk: hand sanitising continues to be provided, face-coverings are strongly recommended to be worn and general cleaning will continue. Whilst there will be no legislation about social distancing, we are intending to maintain the church as it is presently for the coming time. Some people will be ready to exercise maximum freedom, others will be more cautious and need more time and we do this for the good of all the people in the parish.
There remains no Sunday obligation but you are very much encouraged to come to Mass whenever you would like, during the week and/or Sundays. We have Masses at 6pm Saturday for the anticipated Mass, and 8.30am ad 10.30am on Sunday.
The Pastoral team will meet to discuss the plan for our church over the coming week and will report back to the parish when we have done so.
Please find below the statements and guidance from the Bishops for our churches from the 19th July
The Hertfordshire Local Resilience Forum recently created this video about free rapid testing: https://onedrive.live.com/?authkey=%21AOAw9s%5FbqgI54d4&cid=7A3FC1A1C1681C0E&id=7A3FC1A1C1681C0E%211889040&parId=7A3FC1A1C1681C0E%211888930&o=OneUp
The video is aimed at 17-24 year olds in Hertfordshire in hope it will encourage them to get tested twice a week to help slow the spread of the virus.
Changes for worship from 17th May
Weddings, receptions and other life events can take place with up to 30 people.
This includes baptisms. However, numbers attending may be greater if a baptism is celebrated in the context of a Mass when numbers will depend on the COVID capacity of the Church.
The numbers attending funeral will depend upon how many people can be safely accommodated in the Church.
This includes the liturgy of the reception of the body into Church and the funeral liturgy.
30 people will be able to attend a support group or parent and child group. The limit does not include children under five.
This includes sacramental preparation and meetings for prayer etc.
Face to face (or in person) sacramental preparation classes are now permitted.
- If candidates are from the same school bubble, the group can extend to the safe maximum capacity of the venue.
- If candidates are from different schools, the group will be capped at 30.
- You must continue to operate social distancing between candidates from different schools.
- Good ventilation is required.
- All other protective measures set out in the Sacramental Preparation Guidance must be followed, i.e. hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, no sharing of resources.
Today I’m joining the Global Day of Action for a #PeoplesVaccine, to demand an end to global vaccine apartheid. We need to stop Big Pharma monopolies so COVID-19 vaccines reach everyone, everywhere. Join the action here: https://peoplesvaccine.org/take-action/
Click here for Covid 19 Champion Update
8/1/2021 Roles of our churches
Message from Bishop John Sherrington Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster
Some parishes are receiving letters from the local boroughs which express concern about the opening of churches for communal worship. Some people, including parishioners and those who have visited our churches because they are open, have also expressed both surprise and concern.
On behalf of the Cardinal, I am sending you a letter which may be used to explain the position of the Diocese at this time. It is entitled ‘The current position and role of our churches in this phase of the pandemic’. The letter distinguishes between the principle of churches being open and the prudential judgement about the hours of opening and the frequency of communal worship.
Please be assured of prayers at this time.
With every good wish
Click here for statement 210108 Role of Churches
Mass will be at 10am as usual. It will continue to be live streamed at https://www.facebook.com/trish.bonnett
There continues to be no obligation to attend Sunday Mass.
Every Church has its own challenges to provide a safe environment for the priest and the people. The removal of the Sunday obligation has meant that nobody should feel guilty if they do not attend Mass and we need to reinforce this message, as well as ensure the safety of all who attend, especially the more vulnerable, which can include the priest. In particular circumstances in a parish, it may be necessary to reduce the number of public Masses or reduce other communal prayers, or even for a time only celebrate streamed or private Masses, and this is your local decision.
Please ask people to pray at home for the end of the spread of the virus and the distribution of the vaccine. Please also pray for those clergy who have tested positive at this time.
The Bishops have outlined details of what is permitted liturgically in the document below.
Guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19 – GOV.UK
Who this guidance is for. This guidance is for everyone who has been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable.If you are in this group, you will previously have received a letter from the NHS …
Please do whatever you think is most safe for you. Do not put yourself or others at risk. The government’s message begins and ends with
National lockdown: stay at home
You must stay at home. This is the single most important action we can all take to protect the NHS and save lives.
You must not leave your home unless necessary.
Stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household or bubble.
Places of worship People can attend places of worship for prayer and liturgy. Limits for communal worship should be decided on the basis of the capacity of the place of worship following an assessment of risk. However, people must not mingle with anyone outside of their household or support bubble. They should maintain strict social distancing at all times.
Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people. Anyone working is not counted in these limits. Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble.
Weddings must only take place with up to 6 people. Anyone working is not included. These should only take place in exceptional circumstances, for example, an urgent marriage where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover, or is to undergo debilitating treatment or life-changing surgery.
Baptisms are permitted as part of a scheduled service where there must be no mingling between households or for a standalone service limited to 6 including the one to be baptised. There must be no mingling (within 2 m) between those who do not live together.
Visits to the sick and dying The guidance is explicit in stating that a person who is dying can be visited whether at home, in a care home, hospice or hospital (entry determined by the particular house rules). Whilst visiting the sick can be considered under the aspect of work, great care would need to be taken because the sick and housebound are among the most vulnerable; the new strain of the virus is spreading rapidly; and residents are asked to stay at home. The prudent choice is only to visit the dying until the situation changes. Visits to the dying should not be made by over those 70 or anyone of whatever age who is clinically vulnerable. As it is envisaged that the purpose of the visit includes anointing, only a priest should visit.
In Tier 4 areas, prayer or study groups must not take place in person.
Home visits to help Herts’ self-isolators
A new support team starts knocking on doors across Hertfordshire this week, offering advice and support to people who are required by law to self-isolate for 10-14 days to help contain the spread of coronavirus.
Public health professionals will be visiting people across the county who national and local contact tracing teams have been unable to reach by telephone. The aim is to ensure that people self-isolating – which means staying at home and not going out unless it’s an emergency – understand the rules, and can get the help they need.
Those who cannot be contacted the first time will be left a letter which clearly explains the purpose of the visit and reminds people that it is against the law to leave the home under self-isolation. Those who still cannot be contacted a second time risk being referred to the police for further action to be taken.
This is the latest in a series of measures introduced in Hertfordshire to help people understand when and how to self-isolate, how long for, and why it’s important. It is part of a wider ‘Self Isolate Means Stay At Home’ campaign of activity that includes:
- Hard-hitting reminders on social media that self-isolate means staying at home, and pointing them to HertsHelp (www.hertshelp.net) if support is needed.
- Clear guidance and contact details for those who can help being handed out at testing centres throughout the county.
- The launch this week of the online #HertsIsolationChallenge which gives guidance and encouragement on maintaining physical and mental wellbeing when isolating.
For advice on self-isolation, visit bit.ly/SelfIsolateHerts
Message from the Bishops
Following a meeting of the Places of Worship Task Force yesterday, I can confirm that communal worship will be able to restart from 2 December in all Local Restriction Tiers. The officials from the MHCLG (Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government) noted that the past month has been an intensely challenging time for all of our communities and they hope that this will be welcome news. They are aware of the importance of worship for many people.
This is a return to the covid-secure protocols that existed in our churches at 5th November 2020.
The decision of the Government to permit communal worship in all tiers under the covid-secure protocols that have been developed and approved for our churches is in recognition of the importance of people who have the right to attend communal worship and also of our active collaboration with the MHCLG and PHE (Public Health England) in creating the safe environments in our buildings, which must continue. Therefore it would be important to emphasise that there should be no easing off on the applications of this good practice and encouragement for people to fully engage with what is asked of them.
For our Parish
We are in Tier 2 in our area and the other good news is that collective worship can continue across all tiers so we are grateful that the government recognised the importance of this. What that means is that you can only sit in household groups in the church and that there is NO socialising or interaction between different household groups whilst in church.
All chatting will need to take place outside of the church premises and only in groups of no more than 6 people. Thank you for your co-operation with this government restriction.
Government tier restrictions
COVID Guidance from the Bishop’s conference
Guidance for Collective Worship in Catholic Churches (COVID-19)
Updated guidance designed to help parish priests comply with the government’s public health and social distancing requirements.
Click for more
Click here for Advice_for_COVID_testing 11.9.2020
Results from a major survey assessing responses to the Covid-19 crisis among Catholics in the UK reveals the experience of both clergy and laity during the pandemic. Over 2,500 Catholics (between 19th May and the 26th July) were surveyed about their experiences and attitudes towards lockdown.The survey aimed to ask participants not just what they did but also what they felt about the experience of lockdown, and what they thought the future might hold. How well did people cope with the pandemic? Did it strengthen or weaken their faith? How was it for clergy and lay leaders trying to work in this new environment? How have those receiving ministry found this novel experience? Will virtual ministry become part of the post-pandemic landscape, and will this be a good move for churches? Among its most significant findings:
Of those polled 93% accessed Church services online during COVID19. This high figure naturally reflects the fact that this was an online survey circulated directly by Bishops, clergy, religious orders, lay and diocesan networks.
While there was a high level of engagement and appreciation of online worship (66%) the results suggest that there is little danger of a mass exodus to the virtual world, with only 4% thinking they would worship mainly or entirely online in the future.
A majority (61%) felt that closing church buildings during the lockdown was the right decision.
80% think that church buildings are central to faith witness in the community and 84% disagreed with the suggestion that church buildings are an unnecessary burden and expense.
82% of Catholics thought that the NHS had responded well to the crisis, whilst just over half of Catholics felt that their church at a national level had responded well (53%) and only about a fifth (22%) of people agreed that the Government led the nation well during the lockdown.
Many Catholics polled (63%) had had some contact with clergy or a lay representative during lockdown ranging from pastoral support, practical help, prayer, church admin, or just checking up.
Catholics surveyed said that lockdown had helped them to feel closer to God (50%) and more prayerful (54%).
The findings suggest that the experience of Catholics differs from the speculation in some quarters that British Christians as a whole enthusiastically celebrate the replacement of the activities of the Church with online provision. Catholics miss their churches. In particular it seems that younger Catholics were more likely to be opposed to lockdown and felt more strongly about the importance of church buildings than did older people who were surveyed.
Professor Francis Davis, University of Birmingham and Oxford, said: “It has been a pleasure to work with Catholic Voices to undertake what may be one of the biggest surveys ever undertaken of the Catholic community in England and Wales. We wanted to find out how Catholics had been coping and what impact the crisis has had on people’s faith and their attitudes towards the Church. I am convinced that the report and its findings will be a vital resource in the discussions about the future of the Church in England and Wales.”
Brenden Thompson, CEO Catholic Voices, said: “I am pleasantly surprised by many of the findings of this survey. Catholics miss their parishes and church buildings and seem eager to return, not just content with ‘virtual Church’. Many it seems, by and large, have backed the Bishops, been grateful for the efforts of clergy to livestream, and many have even felt at times closer to God and been more prayerful than usual. That said, the challenges ahead are real, so if we want to capitalise on this goodwill, we need to start thinking seriously about the conversations that need to happen as more and more begin returning to parishes.”
Please find the full report here: www.catholicvoices.org.uk/s/Coronavirus-Church-You-Survey-Report.pdf
The survey, which is part of a wider survey of UK Christian responses to the present crisis, was undertaken by Professor Francis Davis (University of Birmingham and Oxford), Professor Andrew Village (York St John University) and Professor Leslie Francis (University of Warwick) who collaborated with Catholic Voices to publicise the survey and produce the report.
Catholic Voices (CV) was created in 2010 at the time of the papal visit to improve the Church’s representation in the media, above all in news programs and debates. Since then 20 CV groups have started in different countries in Europe, the Americas and Australia.
Read more about Catholic Voices here: www.catholicvoices.org.uk
For those who think the signage at the doors of our church is excessive please see below. I think we are doing okay at present!
Picture gallery for the church and altar server sacristy during the pandemic
With some guidance from St. Ignatius of Loyola.
“Christian responses to the present coronavirus crisis and its potential impact on the future perspectives of UK Christians” a survey- please click below to find details.
Hertfordshire residents with symptoms of coronavirus COVID-19 are being encouraged not to delay getting a test for the virus.
Booking a test is quick and easy. The booking site www.gov.uk/coronavirus will show the testing centres available for the next day and you should have your test done as soon as possible after your symptoms first develop. Coronavirus symptoms are a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; or a loss or change to someone’s sense of smell or taste.
Drive through testing sites are now operational for everyone living or working in Hertfordshire – with testing centres on various days in the week in in Hertford, Watford, Hemel Hempstead, Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City. People who don’t have access to a car or are too ill to drive can order a test kit to be posted to their home.
For anyone who needs additional help to book a test, or who doesn’t have access to the internet, a telephone call centre is available – phone 119 between 7am and 11pm or 18001 0300 303 2713 if you have hearing or speech difficulties.
The call centre can also answer enquiries about the testing process and what to do once you have your result, or chase up any delayed results.
The drive-through testing facility at Tesco Headquarters in Shire Park in Welwyn Garden City opened last week and is open every day from 8am to 8pm. It has been carrying out an average of 210 tests every day. Here, people can test themselves with the swabs provided or have a swab test carried out by a trained professional. The test involves taking a swab of the nose and the back of the throat.
Please bring your mobile phone with you when you come to a testing centre. If you have booked a test at Watford, please note that you may need to pay for parking as you wait.
Our church will now be open for private prayer from Monday 15th June daily at 4.30pm-6pm. Please see below the letter from Fr Tom about the re-opening and the guidelines for those coming to the church.
Unite against coronavirus
We must never forget that we are one global family, united in this struggle. Now is not the time to build barriers, but for the world to unite in love and compassion.
Out of love for our sisters and brothers overseas, sign our petition asking the Prime Minister to ensure that the most vulnerable people are the priority in the UK’s international efforts as well as at home.
Cardinal Vincent’s Pentecost Sunday Homily
Life has been so strange for these last ten weeks. There has never been a time quite like it, difficult yet gifted. For, in fact, these weeks have been full of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, whose coming on the group of the first disciples of the Lord we celebrate today. We thank God for the giving of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, then and now.
A few days ago, I had one of these ‘virtual meetings’ with all the men who are in preparation for service as priests in our parishes. There were over 20 of them, many now part of a ‘household of a presbytery’ where they help out in the ministry of the priests. Their stories were full of the presence of the Holy Spirit.
They spoke of their joy and encouragement in being able to share in the life of the priests, who had welcomed them so warmly into their homes. Such gracious hospitality, a touch of the Holy Spirit.
They spoke of finding that prayer was at the heart of each day and that these weeks were giving them time to grow closer to the Lord. Such prayer is the gift of the Holy Spirit who shows us how to pray when our hearts know not what to do. This gift is there for all of us. We just have to ask and open our hearts.
They spoke not only of their own prayer but of all the ways in which they have been drawn into sharing prayer with others, over the internet, over the telephone, in rosary circles, in Scripture reflection. Many of you are doing this. Yes, it is the Holy Spirit who urges us to reach out to others and share with them the joy and consolation we find in the Lord’s presence. We are just like those first disciples: we need this encouragement, this gift, in order to overcome our reticence and speak openly with others, with care and respect, of the greatness of our faith. There is no time like the present for doing that!
The seminarians spoke too of sharing in the awful sadnesses of this time: being present at gravesides with such a small group of people bidding farewell to a loved one, feeling the painful breaking of bonds that death entails, without the comfort of wider family and friends.
The great work of the Holy Spirit is, of course, to bring about the astonishing miracle of the Mass. Through the power of the Holy Spirit the bread and wine which we bring to the altar becomes the Body and Blood of the Lord, our nourishment for the journey of life. How hard it is to be away from this Eucharist Communion. How much we need to rely on the same Holy Spirit to bring the presence of the Lord into our hearts through a spiritual communion. The Holy Spirit can do that.
No confines, walls or rules can limit the gracious working of the Holy Spirit whose gifts are to be found in so many places.
Today we think of the group of disciples, with Mary, waiting, as they were bidden, in the Upper Room. The doors were closed. Jesus came and breathed upon them and said ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’. Then they were empowered, fired by that gift which is also described as being ‘like tongues of flame’. Flinging open the doors, out they came, ready at last for their mission.
We, too, are waiting to open these doors, the doors of our churches. The waiting has been hard but we have accepted the Government’s decision to close our churches because the protection of life required it. But this week’s announcements by the Prime Minister that some indoor sales premises can open tomorrow and that most shops can open on 15th June, questions directly the reasons why our churches remain closed.
We are told that these openings, which are to be carefully managed, are based on the need to encourage key activities to start up again. Why are churches excluded from this decision?
The importance of faith to so many people is clear. The role of faith in our society has been made even clearer in these last weeks: as a motivation for the selfless care of the sick and dying; as providing crucial comfort in bereavement; as a source of immense and effective provision for those in sharp and pressing need; as underpinning a vision of the dignity of every person, a dignity that has to be at the heart of the rebuilding of our society.
The opening of our churches, even if just for individual prayer, helps to nurture this vital contribution to our common good.
Opening churches must be done safely. That is so important. We are confident that we can do so. We have developed expert guidance. We are ready to follow the Government’s guidelines as soon as they are finalised. What is the risk to a person who sits quietly in a church which is being thoroughly cleaned, properly supervised and in which social distancing is maintained? The benefits of being able to access places of prayer is profound, on individual and family stability and, significantly, on their willingness to help others in their need.
It is now time to move to the phased opening of our churches.
Thankfully the mission of the Church, inspired by the Holy Spirit, knows no boundaries. We see this every day. I am confident that the experience of this ‘lock down’ is teaching us many new ways of sharing faith, of explaining faith, of putting faith into practice. Thank you all, so much, for the witness you are giving.
In speaking today of the gifts given by the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis says this:
‘Dear friends, we are called to share the comfort of the Spirit, the closeness of God we have received. How do we do this? Everything we would like others to do for us let us do to them instead. Do we want to be heard? Let us first listen. Do we need encouragement? Let us give encouragement. Do we want someone to care for us? Let us care for those who are alone and abandoned. Do we need hope for tomorrow? Let us give hope today. Let us, then, become messengers of the comfort bestowed by the Spirit.’ (Message of Pope Francis for Thy Kingdom Come)
Today we remember: the Holy Spirit is the fire that keeps us going; the water of the immensity of God’s life within us; the dove of his peace after disaster; the wisdom that shows us right from wrong; the creative spirit who makes a work of art of our lives, the wind that will urge us on to our heavenly home – if we will let him do so!
Cardinal Nichols on safely reopening churches for private prayer on Radio 4’s Today programme
The NHS partners have provided information about how to access Hertfordshire’s three pop-up COVID-19 drive-through test centres this Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
The pop-up sites in Hertford (Saturdays), Watford (Sundays) and Stevenage (Mondays) have been commissioned by local NHS organisations and are supported by the military. Testing at each site will open at 10am and run until 4pm.
Information about the test criteria, together with an explanation of what to do if you meet the criteria for a test is included in this document Coronavirus_testing_for_Hertfordshire
NHDC Healthy Hub have tailored their service to provide guidance on the support available during COVID-19 as well providing health & wellbeing advice.
From helping to ensure you have access to essential items such as food and/or medication to supporting your mental and physical health, they are there to help!
Call 01462 474111 (Mon to Fri, 9am-5pm), email email@example.com or visit https://www.healthyhubnorthherts.co.uk/ for more information.
7/4/2020 Useful telephone numbers for the elderly or vulnerable
Please also remember that we have a group of parishioners who are able to help by keeping in touch and/or doing shopping and collecting prescriptions etc. If you need that help or know someone who does, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
Holy Week Statement from British and Irish Church Leaders
God’s world is in the midst of an unprecedented crisis. In the nations that make up Britain and Ireland the Covid-19 virus continues to affect people at an alarming rate, health services along with many of our institutions and organisations, both local and national, are under extreme pressure and people are getting used to living in a very different way, many in extreme isolation. As with all such crises, there is a danger that the most vulnerable in society will be most badly affected.
Christians the world over are entering an important time in the church year as we look to the events of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. At the centre of our common faith are both the depths of despair and the heights of joy. In the Bible and in the songs and liturgies of the Church, we see Jesus entering fully into human suffering. In His rising again, that suffering is redeemed and transformed into hope and joy. After Jesus’ death his disciples were afraid and all seemed lost and hopeless, but the risen Christ met them in their despair and restored hope through his victory over death. We pray that the world today might know this hope in place of despair.
In the Book of Daniel we read about God’s people being taken into exile in Babylon. Daniel could not pray in the Temple in Jerusalem, but he continued to pray in exile – opening his window to face Jerusalem. Though he was on his own he joined with the prayers of the people wherever they were. Now we too are separated from each other physically, but when we pray in our homes we join in with this ancient tradition of our home as a place of prayer. Wherever we are, whenever we pray, when we speak and think of Christ, there he is in the midst of us. We join our prayers with all those who pray in our own churches and communities and around the world.
As church leaders from across the many and varied churches of these Islands we urge all people to join us in prayer this Holy Week and Easter; to pray for those who suffer, those who face untimely death and all those who care for them; to celebrate our common faith at a difficult time; to help and support our neighbours in need; and to observe all the safeguards in place to slow the spread of disease.
Loving God, in Jesus Christ, who died and rose again for our salvation, cast out the darkness of our anxiety, fear and mourning, enfold us in your love and give us joy and hope this Easter. Amen.
|Archbishop Justin Welby
Archbishop of Canterbury
|Cardinal Vincent Nichols
Archbishop of Westminster
|Very Rev Dr William Henry
Moderator General Assembly
Presbyterian Church of Ireland
|Rt. Revd Colin Sinclair
Moderator General Assembly
Church of Scotland
|Archbishop Eamon Martin
Archbishop of Armagh
|Commissioner Anthony Cotterill
The Salvation Army
|Revd Nigel Uden
Moderator of General Assembly
United Reformed Church
|Archbishop-elect John McDowell
Archbishop of Armagh
|Bishop Hugh Gilbert
Bishop of Aberdeen
|Revd Dr Barbara Glasson
President Methodist Church of Great Britain
|His Eminence Archbishop Nikitas
Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain
|Revd Lynn Green
General Secretary Baptist Union of Great Britain
|Bishop Mark Strange
Primus, Scottish Episcopal Church
|Archbishop John Davies
Archbishop of Wales
|His Eminence Archbishop Angaelos
Coptic Archbishop of London
|Pastor Agu Irukwu
Redeemed Christian Church of God
|Mr Rheinallt Thomas
President Free Church Council Wales
|Revd Hugh Osgood
Moderator Free Church Federal Council
|Revd Brian Anderson
President Irish Council of Churches
CEO Evangelical Alliance
|Revd Sam McGuffin
President Methodist Church in Ireland
Religious Society of Friends
The Cardinal’s video message about the latest developments and offering a word of encouragement to the faithful. Here’s the link where it can be viewed: https://vimeo.com/398532027
Please click to see the updated list of Mass times which are live-streamed. 200318 Mass streaming and useful websites v2
Live Streaming Mass At St Hugh of Lincoln
As a temporary measure to widen accessibility to watch and hear the celebration of Mass to all parishioners in these challenging times, connect to our
temporary Youtube page: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4dPNJNiGgOORojgZIMTkUQ from your computer or mobile device while Mass is being celebrated.
This will run from 9:30 am to 11:00 am on Sunday March 22nd.
We have now received advice and guidance from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and a letter from Cardinal Vincent. Click here 200322 Pastoral Letter – Coronavirus 2020.03.18 – Liturgical Advice to Bishops -Final
The headline is that all public liturgies will cease beginning this Friday evening 20th March 2020.
The details of what we have planned so far are set out below: –
Thursday 19th March Mass at 10am
Thursday 19th March Mass at 7pm
Friday 20th March Mass at 10am followed by Stations of the Cross.
This will mark the end of all public liturgies.
There will be no daily or Sunday Mass until we are advised by the Cardinal in the future that they may resume. We are still awaiting the forthcoming decisions of the Bishops for the Holy Week ceremonies. In the Cardinal’s letter he stresses that in these emergency circumstances, and for as long as they last, the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days is removed.
Frs. Tom, Euloge and Andrew will continue to celebrate Mass without the presence of the faithful on a daily basis. This ensures that our parishioners can join in spiritual communion with our priests. St. Thomas Aquinas described Spiritual Communion as “an ardent desire to receive Jesus in the Holy Sacrament and a loving embrace as though we had already received Him.” Fr Tom says that you receive all the graces of holy communion as if you had actually received the Body of Christ.
The church will remain open every day as usual for individual private prayer before the Blessed sacrament in the tabernacle, without any organised services.
The Tuesday Eucharistic services will no longer take place.
Exposition of the blessed sacrament will take place each day from 10-11am (including Sundays). If people decide to come for private prayer, they are advised to sit well apart from each other and minimise interaction with anyone else.
During this period of Adoration, the sacrament of Reconciliation will be available every day. This will be offered in the confessional only and you are asked to wipe both the door handles with the gel and cloth provided on exiting from the confessional. Please do not queue near the confessional. Just move to it when vacant from your isolated place in the church.
If you are self-isolating because you might have symptoms or have been in contact with someone who might have symptoms of COVID-19, then we are not able to visit you until your period of isolation ends. However, if you let us know you are self-isolating, we will keep in touch with you by phone. If you are social distancing yourself to avoid contracting the virus then Fr Euloge is able to visit with the sacrament of the sick and communion should you need it. Other Eucharistic ministers will be available to bring communion. We have devised a short Eucharistic service which involves no physical contact with you and the minister can be in and out within 8-10 mins.
We have devised a buddy system to pair parishioners who are housebound with other people who can keep in touch with them and do shopping, get prescriptions etc.
If you wish to see a priest, have communion, or be buddied with someone please email email@example.com who will arrange it.
We will provide more details of the pathway of prayer and sacramental life that the Cardinal refers to as soon as we can. In the meantime, you have the novena to St Raphael and St Jude which began today and will continue for the next 8 days. We intend to have continual novenas to different saints and the prayers for these will be sent out accordingly.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at the parish and we will do our best to answer them.
This is a most unusual time and with prayer and God’s help we will come through this. We thank you all for your prayer, your daily kindnesses and mutual support as does the Cardinal.
God bless you.
Sent on behalf of Fr Tom
Following the increase in spread of the corona virus the Cardinal has issued further instructions to all parishes to follow to try to minimise the spread of the disease within our church whilst trying to maintain our ability to hold the Mass and liturgies for as long as possible. We put much of the advice into action at the weekend but there are other things we need to do.
The new advice we need to implement is as follows:
When receiving communion please cup your hands so that the Priest or Eucharistic Minister can drop the host into your hands and avoid touching your hand and it minimises the risk of the host dropping off your hand onto the floor.
At most Masses there will be 3 Eucharistic ministers as well as the priest giving out communion. Please go to whoever has the shortest queue.
The Cardinal advises those most vulnerable (elderly, people with weakened immune systems and long term conditions like cancer, diabetes and heart disease) to refrain from large parish gatherings and stay at home. It is not a sin to not come to mass for this reason as it is for your own safety and protection.
It is also possible to see and hear Mass on line or on the television.
On line daily Masses can be found at a variety of sites including
Also on the TV EWTN offers daily and Sunday Mass at 12pm and 4pm
If you would like communion brought to you home we can arrange that at least monthly but will try more frequently depending on the numbers of people involved. To arrange this either email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring the parish office on 01462 459126.
If you have cold or flu symptoms you are advised to refrain from attending Liturgy, public events, or the Sacrament of Reconciliation if symptomatic (You may have an ordinary cold but equally it is important to ensure a precautionary approach).
If you are self-isolating we will not be able to bring communion or visit for two weeks but please let the parish know so we can keep in touch and keep you in our general prayers.
Maintain good hygiene by hand washing before coming to Mass; refraining from touching your face and use the gel on arrival. (We will endeavour to keep a supply of gel in the porch)
Catch it – sneeze into a tissue.
ii. Bin it – bin the tissue.
iii. Kill it – wash your hands with soap and water.
iv. Do not touch your face unless you’ve washed your hands.
v. If you cough try to do so into your elbow.
The collection will not be taken up by passing a bag, there will be baskets as you go up to communion and you are asked to put your offering there. You may wish to change to a direct debit at this time to make it easier. Please let Trish know if you want to do this and she will ensure that David Wilson, who co-ordinates the planned giving will send you the appropriate forms. Please note we have made a decision to temporarily suspend second collections.
We have been advised to suspend catering (teas, coffees, etc.) at large parish gatherings where multiple people touch mugs, utensils, biscuits, etc. so we are immediately suspending coffee after 8.30 and 10.30 Masses. Please note this does not stop people from gathering in the hall for a chat but there will be no catering or raffles. Hopefully this will be a short term pain to give us the long term gain of stopping the spread of the virus and keeping our parishioners healthy.
Candle lighters have been removed from the votive candle stands so please light candles from the candles that are already lit on the stand. If there are no candles lit please pop to the parish office and Cheryl or Trish will assist.
We will leave the church doors open (if it is not too cold so that parishioners after having used the gel on their hands do not then have to push open the door.
Thank you for your patience and co-operation at this time. Please keep everyone who is being affected by Corona virus in your prayers. I am sure by the grace of God we will get through this difficult time and hopefully become a more united community and country as a result.
Guides for MCs and Eucharistic Ministers
Masters of Ceremonies (MCs)
1. Please have the two flat ciboria and two larger ciboria out for each Sunday Mass except 5pm when there should be just the two flat ciboria. There will be three EMs to assist the priest at all Masses except 5pm when there will be only one EM (hopefully!) Please put the appropriate number of doors on the EM board.
2. When preparing for the Mass and putting the supply of hosts into the ciborium – do not touch the hosts – just sprinkle them into the vessel.
3. Don’t forget to run the water in the altar server sacristy so that warmer water is coming through for the EMs to wash their hands at the Our Father. There is no need to offer them the antiseptic gel on the credence table.
4. You need to bring a washing up bowl with hot water, some soap and a towel to put on the credence table. The priest will wash his hands whilst the EMs have gone out to wash their hands. You can take it to him at the altar or he can come to the table – just check what he wants to do before hand.
5. When the EMs go out to wash their hands they should be able to return by the end of the Sanctus. They don’t have much time so the MC should take the reserve hosts from the tabernacle and have it ready on the altar.
6. After the distribution of communion the EMs will bring their ciboria to the altar and the priest will return the hosts to the reserve and he will return it to the tabernacle.
7. The dishes should be returned to the altar server sacristy and washed by the MCs after Mass.
8. A couple of suggestions that have come in – when the EMs go out to wash their hands leave the door open so that when you come back with clean hands you can come through the door without having to handle it. The MC can shut it behind you.
Thank you for adjusting to the new procedures for giving out communion and minimising the risks to our parishioners. There were some glitches last weekend but we are grateful that everyone tried their best to follow what has been agreed. We just wanted to clarify things with the below. It has been agreed with Fr Tom that there will be three ministers to assist the priest giving out communion at all masses except 5pm where we have a shortage of ministers anyway. You should all have the new rota and please do slide the doors over on the EM board so that the MCs and other ministers in the church are aware that there are the right number of ministers.
There will be four people (including the priest) giving out communion. Two EMs will have a flat ciborium and the priest and one other minister will each have a larger ciborium. These will stand in the middle and the two ministers with the flat ciborium should stand to the side. The priest will announce just before communion that all 4 people will have the body of Christ so move to the minister with the shortest queue.
EMs should go to the altar server sacristy as soon as the Our Father starts, and wash their hands with soap and dry them with the paper towels and return to the sanctuary as soon as possible. The priest will also be washing his hands at the credence table during this time. There is no need to use the antiseptic gel on the credence table on your return. When you are handed your ciborium hold it in one hand only and use the fingers on your other hand to touch the hosts only.
The MC will collect the reserve hosts from the tabernacle so that will already be done and ministers just need to get into place as usual.
After the distribution of communion the Priest will put all unused hosts into the reserve and he will return the reserve to the tabernacle. The EMs should return to the sacristy and wash their hands again.
When giving out communion EMs should not touch the hands of the communicant but just drop the host into their cupped hand. It is acceptable to say to anyone who presents a mouth to you that you have to give it to them in their hand.
If you are giving a blessing then do so without touching the child or adult you are blessing. You can just hold your hand over them and say whatever blessing you normally use.
Thank you for your co-operation at this time.