My Dear Friends in Jesus Christ,
Two weeks ago, the Government gave the go ahead on the re-opening of Public Places of Worship after 14 weeks of lock down. To me personally this was truly wonderful and joyous news! Manifestly, the celebration of Daily Mass is the most important duty of any priest; leading people in faith through the holiness of the Sacraments. I tried to the best of my ability, with the incredible help of a wonderful team of computer experts and helpers, to try and keep our parish connected through the medium of Social Media. We were able to livestream daily from day one of the lockdown. The amount of messaging, emails & phone calls from many of you, expressing gratitude, was truly humbling. This situation is unprecedented; none of us have ever experienced anything quite like it in our lifetimes.
This Pandemic has most definitely created an atmosphere of fear; and when we look around the world, we have seen many people succumb to the virus, with nearly six hundred thousand deaths. This is tragic! But many people have recovered from the virus, including myself. There are probably parishioners who have also had the virus during the past months. Yes, it’s unpleasant and can be very concerning if symptoms develop. The incredible response from the NHS and frontline workers has been amazing. I have witnessed firsthand, through visits to hospital to see parishioners, the sterling work of all those, who daily, look after the sick, to protect each one of us. I pray form them daily.
The one thing this Pandemic has taught me over the past 16 weeks is that the most important aspects of our lives can be reduced to three important areas; our family, our health & our faith. Without these we’re nothing! People have talked about the incredible experience of spending more time with family during this lockdown, and how it has increased their deep love and respect of quality time together. We have had to be reliant upon many of our own resources, and initiatives of working together as families. Personal Health can never be taken for granted. These past months have most definitely shown us that reality. We are grateful, as I stated, to the NHS for their incredible work of trying to keep us safe and well. Ultimately, it is our Faith that gives us the impetus to get up each day with hope and trust in God that he will protect us and help us through each day.
I would like to believe that during this Pandemic we have all had time to reflect on our relationship with Almighty God; and also at the same time, to have availed ourselves of the opportunity to keep in touch with the Lord, not only through personal and private prayer, but also through the livestreaming of daily & Sunday Masses. Routine is important in life and coming to Holy Mass is part of the Catholic routine; it’s habit forming. But sadly, it’s as easy to get out of a habit as it is to get into one.
We have now opened our Church daily for the celebration of the Holy Eucharist. We continue to live-stream for those who, through sickness or underlying health conditions cannot attend our Church. I appeal to all our parishioners, as a Community of Faith in this little pocket of the Lord’s vineyard, to make an extra special effort to return to Weekly Mass. We have complied with Government & Diocesan regulations with regards the re-opening of Churches. We have put in place all measures to ensure your health and safety. Social distancing regulations are being practiced. Hand sanitization, and Face Coverings are necessary while in Church. Families can sit close together in your family ‘bubble’. Please consider this Invitation to return to the regular practice of your faith. I was never happier than two weeks ago when, for the first time in 14 weeks there was a small congregation present at Holy Mass; they were able to receive Our Lord Jesus Christ in Holy Communion once again.
I invited you to our Sunday Mass this weekend: Vigil Mass for Sunday, on Saturday 18th July at 6.00pm Sunday 19th July at, 9.00am & 11.00am. Please come as families; it will be truly wonderful to see you all once again. We have managed to put a loudspeaker outside the Church, for those who feel nervous being inside. I thank you all for your kindness over the past months; It’s been amazing!
With Love & Peace in Jesus Christ,