PLAN FOR THE LITURGY FOR ENGLISH MARTYRS FOLLOWING THE BISHOPS’ ANNOUNCEMENT: 19 MARCH 2020
As you will have heard the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales released a statement yesterday (18 March) outlining their policy for dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak and how it will affect public worship going forward.
From Friday evening (20th March 2020) until further advice is received the following changes will be in effect:
Mass: Public participation in the Mass will not be allowed from that time onwards. I will continue to celebrate Mass in a locked Church at the normal times. You are all encouraged to join me in prayer from your homes and to make a “Spiritual Communion” at those times. I will print out some suitable prayers as soon as I am able. The obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days is removed during this period.
The church will be open each day for people to make private visits for personal prayer at the following times:
Tuesday – Saturday 1045-12 noon
Sunday: 12 Noon – 3 pm
There will be copies of the Newsletter at the back of Church which will list the Mass Intentions in the normal way. Please remember that the Government guidelines for “Social Distancing” remain in effect when using the Church for private prayer.
Confessions: Will be available when the Church is open if I am there. You are also free to phone me and make an appointment.
Other Sacraments: All other Sacraments and Services are subject to the new guidelines. Please phone me if you wish to have more details.
Holy Week: At the time of writing this letter I do not know what we are going to do regarding Holy Week. The Bishops have promised more guidelines before then. I will let you know as soon as I do.
Groups: All social groups and functions that use the Church are cancelled until further notice.
Ecumenical Services: I have proposed to the other Churches that we cancel the Monday Lenten talks, the Palm Sunday Service and the Good Friday walk of witness. I am awaiting their answers, but I expect them to agree.
In Conclusion: We are living in very difficult times. As far as I know this is the first time that Mass has been suspended for the whole country since the Reformation. I am well aware that many of you will find this news distressing. If you wish to talk about it, please phone me.
It is vitally important that we all “pull together” through these difficult weeks; we need to take care of each other and take particular care to look out for the elderly and the vulnerable who will be self-isolating and make sure that they have what they need.
We are a strong parish that it proud to take its name from the Martyrs who suffered so much for their faith. Let’s stay strong, stay well and stay together in prayer and fellowship.
Fr David M Yates