This week I have spoken to Bishop Marcus about the re-opening of our churches for Masses. The Bishop was able to clarify a number of issues for me and will also be sending out further details during the course of this weekend. We have also received a letter from the Metropolitan Archbishops of the Catholic Church in England giving some broad guidelines. For a copy of this letter please click here.
As Bishop Marcus has reiterated, safety is our priority and therefore there will be strict limits upon the numbers of people who may be in church at one time. The 2 metre rule still applies to the Catholic Churches of England. This is in order to avoid having to wear face-masks during Mass – thus maintaining the dignity of the Mass we are celebrating. With this in mind, the capacity for our two churches is as follows;
St Mary’s – 36 tickets
St Patrick’s – 40 tickets
1 Ticket – allows an individual or a couple
2 Tickets – allows a family of 3 or more
People must be sat in the nave (seating part) of the church. There is no standing in the porches please, as this effects the one way system of the church.
LIMIT ON NUMBERS IN CHURCH – BOOKING SYSTEM
As I explained above, unfortunately, people will not be able to just turn up to church for Mass as you did before, because we have to monitor how many people are in church at one time. With this in mind there will be a booking system for Masses. This booking system will be both by phone and online.
In St. Mary’s
20 tickets available online per Mass
16 tickets available by phone per Mass
To book a ticket for a Mass in St Mary’s please click HERE.
To phone for a ticket in Mass in St Mary’s please call (01924) 474650
In St. Patrick’s
20 tickets available online per Mass
20 tickets available by phone per Mass
To book a ticket for a Mass in St Patrick’s please click HERE.
To phone for a ticket for a Mass in St Patrick’s please call (01924) 474650
Once you have booked a ticket(s) your name will be recorded and a register of who can be present will be kept.
The Booking System will be open as of Monday 29th June from 10.00am. People may only book one week in advance.
- limited numbers being allowed in church at any one time (as above)
- Social distancing in church – no gathering in groups
- No congregational singing of hymns
- Masses will be shorter than usual
- No chalice for the foreseeable future.
- If you have any symptoms please do not book for a Mass
- One way system
- No sign of peace
- Cleaning churches after Mass
- No tea & coffee after Mass until further notice
FAIRNESS IN MASS ATTENDANCE
As you may be aware, when the ‘lockdown’ began, the Catholic Bishops of England & Wales removed the Sunday obligation of attending Mass. It was not your fault and therefore not a sin not to attend Mass on a Sunday. This still applies – there is no obligation upon Catholics to attend Church on a Sunday in these current circumstances. However, I know many Catholics long to be back in church again.
In order for as many people as possible to attend church over a week, may I ask;
- If you are able to attend Mass during the week, could you please avoid attending Mass on Saturday evenings / Sundays, in order to allow those who cannot attend during the week to attend on Saturdays / Sundays.
In order to enable as many people as possible to attend church, both at weekends and weekdays I will be putting on extra Masses as a temporary measure. The Proposed Mass Time-table will be as follows; the new Masses are in RED and are temporary.
PROPOSED MASS TIME-TABLE
These Masses will be monitored for attendance to see if any further changes are necessary. If we find we have a surplus of Masses or not enough Masses, I can always amend the number of Masses being celebrated accordingly.
YOUR HELP WILL BE NEEDED
Obviously, having 2 churches, I cannot be in two places at once, so just as we did prior to the lockdown, I will need your help in getting the churches ready for Masses. We do have a great team of people who help with;
- Opening and closing church – this is crucial
- Eucharistic Ministers – only 1 extra minister will be needed during this time.
- Wipe the church clean afterwards – this is crucial
I have updated the parish rotas. May I ask, are all the people who are on these rotas still happy to help? I just need to plan ahead to see what I need to get in place. A copy of the new rotas are now available on the websites.
Could all those volunteers who are on rotas, please confirm this week, whether or not they are able to help with their duties.
Also, could any new volunteers please come forward to offer their help so I can get things in place for the weeks and months ahead.
MASSES CAN ONLY HAPPEN WITH THE HELP IN PLACE
It goes without saying, that unless the help is there for each Mass (especially Saturday evenings & Sundays) the Masses cannot take place. It really does need our parishes to pull together in order to get us all back in church as safely as possible. Please do all you can to help.