Booking is no longer needed for Holy Mass
Some safety measures are continuing
Fr Martin writes,
I think I can speak on behalf of all of us when I say we’re really grateful for the cheerful cooperation everyone who has come to church or to the hall has given as we’ve worked hard to keep each other safe during these difficult times. Our stewards and those who help draw up the necessary risk assessments deserve our heartfelt gratitude, too; without them, both churches would have remained closed and Holy Mass would have been celebrated with no congregation.
While some measures are no longer a legal obligation, we all want to do our bit to keep each other safe, not because we are obliged to follow rules and regulations, but because our Christian charity is expressed, among other ways, in our thoughtful consideration for others.
Having looked at the local situation, the pastoral council and I judge that some relaxation can occur, although some measures are to continue for the time being. The following changes will begin to be implemented on Monday (26th July).
Booking will no longer be needed for Holy Mass, and the booking system will be stood down.
The social distancing in both church and hall will be reduced from two metres to ‘one metre plus’. This is expected to nearly double the capacity in each place.
People will be able to choose where to sit, and “Please leave me some space” cards will be available for people who prefer a greater social distance.
Singing at All Saints Church will be reintroduced in a phased manner, and hymn books and Mass books will be available (and will be quarantined for at least 24 hours before they’re used again). Singing at St Mary’s will resume once the church is reopened.
We’ll be keeping the church and the hall well ventilated, and the one-way system will remain in both places for the time being.
The distribution of Holy Communion will remain the same for now, and our stewards will gently indicate to people when to step out of their bench.
Until things improve, we’ll continue with one reader for the Liturgy of the Word. Hand sanitiser will be available on the sanctuary for the reader, though its use will no longer be mandatory.
The present arrangement for the Sacrament of Reconciliation will continue for the time being, though it will now be adequate for people to be welcomed by one steward instead of two. Stewards will continue to assist people at funerals.
Altar servers who wish to start serving again (or new ones!) are now permitted to take up their duties in the sanctuary.
We’ll ask people to follow these safety measures:
- Do not enter the church or hall if feeling unwell, or with any possible Covid symptoms, or if asked to self-isolate
- Wear a face covering in the church or hall (unless legitimately exempt)
- Sanitise hands on entry
- Leave other people plenty of space
- Scan the QR code or fill in a track & trace slip
- Socialise safely by chatting outside in the fresh air
A steward will be present to offer help and advice, ‘Touch points’ like door handles and light switches will be cleaned after each Mass or service, and the church and hall will be diligently cleaned weekly. For the time being, we’ll continue in both places to contribute to the collection on the way in.
All these arrangements will be regularly reviewed, so more relaxation can occur as soon as that’s safe, and more stringent measures can be brought back if, God forbid, that becomes necessary.
Holy Mass is celebrated on Saturday night at All Saints, at 6pm; and on Sunday morning at St Mary’s Hall, at 10.30am. See the parish newsletter for Holy Mass on weekdays.
This information first appeared in our parish newsletter.