I hope and pray that this finds you well and in good heart.
Good news! The resumption of public Masses will begin on Saturday 4th July! We are making all the necessary preparations to ensure than people can once again return to the Lord’s house and receive the sacraments – which are so vital to our life as Christians.
Let me say that it has grieved me to be at the altar without you. It is not natural or normal for a priest to offer Mass without his people. However I have done it for your good and for the good of all the Church. The Mass is so much more than a mere communal meal -it is the very gift of God’s own self to us. It is His love, it is His forgiveness, it is His Calvary and His resurrection, it is His everlasting Passover, it is the foretaste of heaven, it contains for us everlasting life, and it is our partaking in the life of God, it is our gateway to heaven. It is essential to our life as Christians and without it there are inevitable consequences to our spiritual lives.
Whilst the live streaming of Masses has helped us to remain focused on the Eucharist I am sure that you will agree that there is no substitute for actually being present at Mass and offering it together.
In order to comply with social distancing we are aware that the capacity of the church will be severely reduced, to just over 30. I am therefore going to celebrate three Sunday Masses for the foreseeable future. Two on Sundays at 11am and 6pm as usual, and one additional Mass as a Vigil of Sunday on Saturday evening at 6pm. All Masses will be said Masses- without singing for the foreseeable future. People will be asked to leave their details with the Welcomer who will greet you at the door. People will also be asked to follow the guidelines on display in the porch.
We will be requesting that as many people as possible transfer from the Sunday morning 11am Mass to the Saturday evening or Sunday evening Masses. We will be contacting people this week to ask you to commit to one. There will be limited capacity reserved at each Mass for people walking in off the street. Regarding weekday Masses we will not be asking for people to let us know in advance as these would not normally exceed 30 people in attendance anyway. For the foreseeable future there will not be a Mass on Monday. Mass will be on Tuesday-Friday 1230pm and Saturday 9.30am.
Before receiving the Blessed Sacrament I would also encourage people to make a good confession. I will be available in the confessional next week Friday 10am-12.30pm, Saturday 10am-12noon, 5pm-6pm, Sunday 10am-11am, 4-5pm, 5.30-6pm. Thereafter 30 minutes before each Mass.
This is a time of great rejoicing but for those shielding it may be a concerning time. Please do be assured of my love, prayers and continued support. As we begin to emerge from lockdown we need to be more vigilant not less. More concerned about those vulnerable groups, more concerned about those suffering from the consequences of this disruption. As Christians have faith in the God who transforms the darkness of Good Friday into the joy and light of Easter day. Let us then look to the future with hope and faith and love.
Should you not receive a call from one of us during the next week please do contact me directly and I will get back to you.
My love and my prayers