Welcome to the website of the parish of Our Lady of the Rosary, Staines. Thank you so much for looking us up. Obviously, if you look around this website, you will find out lots of things about what goes on the parish. However, if you want to find out even more, join our regularly updated facebook group (it is updated far more than this website) or better still, come and join us at Mass on Saturday evening or Sunday morning (Mass times are in the box on the right of this page). There are all sorts of activities you can take part in, but the most important thing we want to say to you is ‘You are always welcome here’.
With all good wishes and prayers from the parish community of Our Lady of the Rosary and Fr. Philip, your parish priest.
Re-opening for Public Mass – Parish Update
The last time we were able to gather for Mass was in March and since then we have missed it terribly. Many will have missed both the encounter with Christ in the Eucharist and also the sense of being a gathered community. Next weekend we will again be able to be physically present at Mass.
The following guide will help you know what to expect. Please read it before asking questions or commenting.
Saturday 6 pm – Mass online-only (with music)
Saturday 7 pm-ish – Holy Communion outside of Mass (see below for what this means)
Sunday 9 am – Mass in church (limited capacity)
Sunday 10 am – Mass in church (limited capacity)
Sunday 11 am – Mass in church (limited capacity)
Sunday 12 noon – Holy Communion outside of Mass (see below for what this means)
After the weekend, we’ll review the schedule, identity difficulties, and make any necessary changes.
After over three months of living very differently, many of us will long to get back to ‘normal’ church, with all the familiar sights and sounds, old faces, and happy careless atmosphere. Unfortunately, we have not reached a point where this will be possible – we are still in ‘Corona Time’, and we may be for some time to come. And so the immediate objective of ‘re-opening’ is simply to restore access to the Eucharist, the central act of our faith, not (unfortunately) to restore parish life as we’ve come to know it. That (along with tea & coffee) will just have to wait…
Our building usually seats 220, but we can squeeze 300 in at a shove – and even more with the hall used as overflow. However, during Corona Time our capacity will be very limited indeed – roughly 50 – 60 people depending on whether most come as individuals or as family groups. This is to allow space for safe distancing. If the church reaches ‘COVID capacity’ we’ll have to say “come back later”, which might mean coming on a different day.
The restoration of public Mass does not bring with it the obligation to attend – which is good, because we won’t be able to fit everyone in. So ‘going’ to Mass online or attending a weekday Mass is absolutely fine at this present time.
Consider a weekday Mass instead
Maybe you feel uncomfortable around a large number of people – why not come to weekday Mass instead?
Mass online will continue
Mass will continue to be live-streamed (broadcast online) on Saturday evening (at 6 pm) with all the usual music and readers that you’re used to. It’ll then be possible for you to come over to church straight after any live-streamed Mass to receive Holy Communion. Weekday mass will also be live-streamed, but more simply.
You can also see the Saturday evening Mass the next day on catch-up and then come for Holy Communion at 12 noon. So there’s lot’s of options.
Face Coverings will be required at Mass
As we are applying the ‘1 metre plus’ distancing rule, the Bishop’s Conference have asked that everyone (with the usual exemptions) wears a face covering over the mouth and nose. This appliesonly to Mass, and not to visiting for private prayer or for holy Communion outside Mass.
Exemptions include (but are not limited to) children under 11 years old, anyone with breathing difficulties, and those who need to be mask-free for the purpose of lip reading.
Short and simple
As a large gathering is currently a high-risk environment, it’s important to minimise the time we spend celebrating Mass – so Mass will be short. ‘Every cloud…’ you might be thinking, but some will miss the singing, ritual, and of course the Eucharistic Bear. Mass will take around 30 minutes – but don’t get too used to that, because it won’t be like this for ever!
Due to the increased range of infected droplets while singing takes place, we have been instructed that there is to be no singing during Mass. Music will continue at the ‘online only’ Saturday 6 pm Mass, which can of course be attended on catch-up the next day.
Tea and coffee after Mass
Not yet I’m afraid – our beloved parish teapot will be sitting dry for some time longer. As far as I’m concerned, we are not ‘back to normal’ until it is back in use!
The ‘1 metre plus’ rule allows us to accommodate more people than we previously thought possible, but capacity will still be very limited. One metre is the equivalent of leaving two empty chairs or one empty row between persons not in the same household or ‘bubble’.
If individuals come to church, the capacity is ca. 60 people. If couples, family groups, or ‘bubbles’ attend and sit together, this capacity rises.
At weekend Masses we will deploy a team of stewards. In order to maximise capacity within safe distancing guidelines, the stewards may ask you to sit in a specific place.
Entry and Exit
Entry will be via the main doors. Exit (on weekends) will be via the parish patio.
Once the church itself is filled, the hall will then be used. If there are still people arriving, they can take part from the car par.k
The car park will only be available to those with limited mobility – everyone else will need to walk from home! Exceptionally, the car park will be open on Saturday after ‘online Mass’ for those coming just to receive Holy Communion.
The church will need to be cleaned after every celebration of Mass – and we will need volunteers!
Holy Communion during Mass
At every Mass Holy Communion will be distributed in the normal way, but with some small changes.
Those waiting to receive Holy Communion will need to keep a safe distance from the person in front.
The minister will not speak – and nor will you!
The minister will wash their hands before and after Holy Communion, and also in cases of accidental finger contact.
Holy Communion will only be available on the hand (not the tongue).
Holy Communion will only be available as the Body of Christ – the Blood of Christ will still not be available.
Holy Communion outside of Mass
We recognise that not everyone will be able to attend Mass, and so it will also be possible for those who did not physically come to Mass to be able to receive Holy Communion. This will happen like this:
Holy Communion will be available directly after any live-streamed Mass (around 7 pm on a Saturday for example), and also on Sundays at 12 noon.
The expectation is that those receiving Holy Communion will have done their ‘homework’ by either taking part in a Mass online or reading the Sunday scriptures and praying at home.
There will be no limit on numbers, but you may have to queue outside!
The time for this is likely to change often – based on need and experience.
it is not necessary to wear a face covering for Holy Communion outside Mass.
The collection basket will not be passed around. Instead there will be an exit collection by the door. However, we encourage everyone who can to donate by standing order or direct bank payment – as this minimises cash handling. However, we’re also grateful for every bit of money we get right now!
I don’t expect this to be an entirely problem-free exercise. Things will go wrong, there’s bound to be tears, and it may be that you are not able to go the Mass you intended. All I can ask is please to be patient – it’ll take 2 -3 weekends to tweak and bed down the new arrangements. However we’re Our Lady of the Rosary parish and we can take most things in our stride!
Your parish online
This website will be updated weekly, but the facebook group is a better way of experiencing parish life. Even if you do not have a Facebook account you can still view what is there. Most parish video liturgies and events are accessible via our YouTube channel