The Celebration of Mass
In order to keep us all safe against any serious sickness caused by the Corona Virus, the Bishops of England and Wales have agreed that we should not gather together in or around the church until further notice.
This means that beginning on Friday evening 20th March 2020 until further notice Mass will not be celebrated with people present. The Parish Priests will continue to celebrate Mass alone to pray for the people of the parish.
Because of the situation the Church finds herself in, the obligation for the faithful to attend Holy Mass on a Sunday or Holy day of Obligation is removed, until further notice.
The continuing celebration of Mass by the priest ensures that everyone can join in spiritual communion with the priests of the Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states (1364): As often as the sacrifice of the Cross by which ‘Christ our Pasch has been sacrificed’ is celebrated on the altar, the work of our redemption is carried out.
Praying at Home
Information about the live-streaming of the celebration of Mass will also be made widely available in our dioceses so that everyone can join in the prayers of the priest at Mass at home. A really good example of this is from The National Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham will continue its full programme of Mass and other prayers, and this will be available to all via the Internet.
Stations of the Cross in Church
This situation also means that other church meetings and liturgies in the church, like the Stations of the Cross, will also not be held. However everyone is encouraged to pray the Stations of the Cross at home using online websites such as EWTN.
The Church is Closed
We are being asked to defer baptisms until the public health advice is that congregations can gather safely. However in an emergency anyone may baptise a child by pouring water over the child’s head while saying: “I baptise you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen” Should you find yourself in this situation it is important that you notify your parish priest that this has happened so that the baptism can be registered as an emergency baptism.
Confession are not permissible during this time. However, it is enough to trust in the goodness of God as a loving Father, and tell him that you are sorry. You can receive the same benefits as a Sacramental Confession, as long as you have the intention of confessing to a priest at the first availabale opportunity.
First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion
These celebrations will be postponed until a time that allows for families and friends to gather safely within our churches. Unfortunately we cant give any dates at this time.
The celebrations of Confirmation will be deferred until such time that the public health advice is that congregations can resume public worship. Unfortunately we cant give any dates at this time.
In all cases, the celebration of the sacrament of Marriage will be deferred until we can gather in numbers safely.