An answer to Our Prayers
It is with great joy that we announce the opening of St Joseph’s for Sunday Mass beginning with 10.00am Ordinary form on Sunday 9th August and followed by the Extraordinary Form at midday.
It will come as no surprise to any of you to hear that the number of people allowed at each Mass has to be restricted to comply with the social distancing measures in place to protect us all against Covid 19. Our limit is 37, which can be stretched slightly if there are family groups.
As well as the social distancing measures, which requires us to remain 2 metres apart at all times, the wearing of facemasks is compulsory, for those aged over 11 years, unless exempted on medical grounds (there will be a limited stock of facemasks available for a small donation at the back of church).
There are also other changes to the way we can enter and exit church and new rules and regulations to follow, such as sanitising hands on entry and exit and prior to receiving Holy Communion.
No statue is to be touched at all, there will be no water in the stoops and there is to be no singing.
There will not be a collection during Mass and so we ask that if you can, you continue to give generously through bank transfer, standing order or direct debit, if you want to continue with weekly cash or cheque donations there will be a receptacle at the back of church in which you may place your donation at the END of Mass.
All the new rules will be clearly displayed and we will have stewards and ushers to assist you at every step, please ensure you comply with their instructions, this is for your own good and the good of others.
To begin with we have decided not to have a pre-booking system in place, this may have to be reviewed depending upon the numbers coming to Mass when we first open. It is essential you arrive early and queue outside, maintaining 2metre distance whilst the stewards show you to your seats.
We have been asked to comply with the government’s ‘Track and Trace’ system, this means that we have been requested to take names and contact details for each person at Mass in order that they may be contacted should there be an outbreak of Covid at one of our services. Your details would be treated with the utmost discretion, in compliance with DATA protection and all information destroyed after 21 days. We STRESS that this is merely a REQUEST and if you would rather not supply this information that is your right to withhold it.
In order to speed up entry to church and to assure you of the utmost confidentiality of any information you are happy to give to ‘Track and Trace’ we ask that at home you write down your name and a telephone contact number along with the date and the Mass you are attending, place this information in a sealed envelope and put it in the box provided at the back of church. No-one will need to access these envelopes at ALL unless there is an outbreak of the virus at the Mass you have attended. This process will have to be completed at each and every Mass you attend, completing the information once will not suffice as envelopes will be destroyed after 21 days and will be kept sealed unless they are needed. Again, we STRESS giving this information is entirely VOLUNTARY.
It has been no easy task to get to the moment of celebrating Mass inside our church once again and we owe a great deal of thanks to everyone who has worked to get everything in place for this momentous occasion, without our volunteers for cleaning, (both before and after each Mass), our Stewards and ushers, committing to being here at each Mass, we would not have been able to open our doors again.
I know it is with great sadness that St Wilfrid’s has not yet been able to open, the Bishop wisely made the decision that each Priest could only open ONE of the churches for which he is responsible, this is because there is an inordinate amount of work and added stress for each Priest in being able to safely say Mass again.
Canon Brown took the very difficult decision to open St Joseph’s first, before St Wilfrid’s, because St Joseph’s has a larger capacity, therefore more of our faithful will have the opportunity to attend Mass, also it is more central than St Wilfrid’s, meaning it is more easily accessible to the majority. The decision is in no way an indication of preference for church or parishioners, it is purely and simply a question of practicality and common sense.
We continue to pray for the success of our open churches and the demise of the virus that in the not too distant future ALL will be open, and Mass will be said once again everywhere.
Thank you everyone for your patience and prayers, understanding and continued support of our two united parishes.
VOLUNTEER MEETING/TRAINING and CLEANING of CHURCH FRIDAY 7th AUGUST 6pm PLEASE ATTEND IF YOU CAN, TRAINING IS ESSENTIAL FOR ALL. Bring a facemask with you and if you are not already on the books in a voluntary role at St Joseph’s please bring along some form of ID.