Important Notice regarding Church services
From Saturday 4th July, public Masses will resume at Saint Peter’s. Just to remind you: these are on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 10am; and on Sundays at 6pm (Saturday evening), 8.30am, 10am and 11.15am.
The Archbishops of England and Wales have written to us, as follows: ‘We remain centred on the Lord Jesus and His command at the Last Supper to “do this in memory of me.” We must now rebuild what it means to be Eucharistic communities, holding fast to all that we hold dear, while at the same time exploring creative ways to meet changed circumstances. It is important to reaffirm that, at present, the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains suspended… We ask every Catholic to think carefully about how and when they will return to Mass… Given there is no Sunday obligation, we ask you to consider the possibility of attending Mass on a weekday. This will ease the pressure of numbers for Sunday celebrations and allow a gradual return to the Eucharist for more people.’ (The full text is available online.)
Covid 19 Update:
The maximum safe operating capacity of the church, based on social distancing guidelines, is 100 people. This means two people per bench, spaced at one metre apart, and one person per chair. (Families can sit together.) We have stewards on the door to help people sanitise their hands, on entry and exit, and to keep a tally. Needless to say, these stewards rely on your co-operation. When the Church is at capacity, they will ask people to wait outside, as is done in shops. When moving around in Church please observe the following one way system: up the middle, down the sides. This is particularly important at Holy Communion.
As already decreed, there can be no hymn books or mass books, as paper can be a Covid vector. If you take a newsletter, please take it home with you. However, you are free to bring your own Missal with you. There will be no Holy Water in the stoups, there is to be no congregational singing. The lavatories and the Church Hall remain shut. The Church doors are to remain open to ventilate the building.
Mass will be shorter than usual. There will be no Bidding Prayers, no procession of the Gifts to the altar, no passing around of the collection baskets or sign of peace. The collection will be taken as you leave the church; this is not a retiring collection but the usual parish collection; please remember you can also donate online and by banker’s order.
Holy Communion will be received under one kind only. Once the priest has received Holy Communion, he will cleanse his hands with alcohol sanitiser before opening the ciborium for the Communion of the people. At the place where communion is to be distributed, a prie-dieu will be placed to socially distance the priest from communicants. Communion must be given silently, avoiding any physical contact. People should wait in their pews until instructed to move forward to the priest for Holy Communion by the Stewards, always aware of the regulations on social distancing in an orderly queue. When they approach the priest, they should do so with arms at “full stretch” so that there is a good distance between the priest and the communicant. Their hands, palms upwards, one of top of the other, should be extended as flatly as possible. Having received Holy Communion, communicants should move back to their pews in an orderly manner. Once Communion is complete, the priest returns to the altar and places the unused Hosts, without touching them, into the Tabernacle and he cleanses the sacred vessels himself in the usual way.
As you leave the Church you are urged not to linger in doorways or other ‘choke points’. Once Mass is over the Church will be closed and cleaned. People are urged not to come to the sacristy before and after Mass, unless they are servers or sacristans.
If social distancing of 3 metres is observed (which will be possible at weekday Masses, one imagines) there is no need to wear face coverings. The Bishops urge face coverings where social distancing is reduced to one metre. The Bishops also urge readers to wear disposable gloves.