My Dear Friends, Solemnity of SS Peter & Paul
GUIDELINS FOR RE-OPENING OUR CHURCH FOR PUBLIC WORSHIP
With the lockdown restrictions being slowly lifted I would like to share with you information with regard to the re-opening of Churches. With Government advice this week on the re-opening of all public places of worship and in conjunction with the Bishop’s Conference of England & Wales; new and extensive guidelines have been drawn up for re-opening. The main objective is to open our churches safely (i.e. providing the least possible risk of the transmission of the virus) for the celebration of Holy Mass. This guidance has been provided and compiled with detailed public health advice and scrutiny and complies with the Principles established by the Government. Our own Health & Safety Officer for the Parish has completed an extensive review and deemed us to be ready for opening on Saturday 4th July 2020 (Our Independence Day!)
- Protecting those at higher risk (e.g. the elderly, those extremely vulnerable and shielding or clinically vulnerable and accessing annual flu immunisation;
- Enhanced cleaning of premises – more regularly and no sharing items;
- Social Distancing – including when using outdoor spaces;
- Face coverings for reassurance;
- Hygiene (hand-washing) or hand sanitising facilities for all;
- Managing children
PERSONAL PREPARATION BEFORE COMING TO CHURCH:
It goes without saying that personal preparation for returning to church will involve the required hand washing before you leave home. It is recommended that people wear face masks. That two meter social distancing is maintained while at Mass. (Of course families can sit close together). Alternate benches will be used for Mass. If you’re wearing a mask one the one meter plus rule applies. On arrival at Church there will be hand sanitisers available. I would arrive in good time to ensure that you are seated before Mass commences. There will be a one way system in place using the side aisles to enter your seats and leaving by the central aisle. This will become clear when you’re at Church. There will be Stewards at each of the Masses guiding the proceedings. Your safety is our prime importance!
First Steps: Preparing for safe-reopening of Church for Public Worship
- Assembling a Team of stewards to ensure that the guidance document can safely be put into effect. The number of volunteers will depend on the size of the church. All volunteers should be drawn from those parishioners who have not been instructed to shield themselves, nor, as a general rule, from groups considered more vulnerable to coronavirus. We will need approximately 2-4 Stewards for each weekend Mass.
- A sufficient supply of alcohol hand gel has been purchased; including cleaning materials (also gloves for cleaners). Notices all over the church. Blocked off areas of seating. Please follow instructions from stewards. And always adhere to the social distancing requirements of 2 Metres. (IT IS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED THAT FACE MASKS BE WORN). One meter plus if you’re wearing a face mask.
- Please sanitise your hands upon entry & exit of the church. After each Mass the benches & kneelers when parishioners have sat will be sanitised & cleaned immediately. Exit from the church will be via the Centre Aisle & Central Double Doors There will be plenty of ventilation in the Church during Mass. The doors & windows of the Church will be open.
- The Parish toilets WILL NOT be available during this period of time.
- The Church will be open daily from 12Noon – 1.00pm Weekdays. A steward will be available at all times when the Church is open, providing information and guidance during your visit. Please follow instructions rigidly.
- Stewards should themselves practice good hygiene through regular hand washing or hand sanitising. Please ensure that cuts and grazes on hands are covered with waterproof dressings.
- The Church will be cleaned immediately after each Sunday Mass. WE NEED AT LEAST 4 VOLUNTEERS PER MASS. PPE EQUIPMENT IS AVILABLE – IF YOU HAVE YOUR OWN MASKS AND GLOVES ALL WELL AND GOOD.
- If there are any problems or issues that you need to discuss, please contact Fr. John or our Health & Safety Co-ordinator Robin Bradley.
LITURGICAL PRACTICE AS YOUR RETURN TO HOLY MASS:
MASS TIMES AS FROM SATURDAY 4th JULY 2020
Vigil Mass for Sunday will be celebrated at 6.00pm. Sunday Masses at 9.00 & 11.00pm
Weekday Mass will continue to be celebrated at 10.00am for the time being.
- Please ensure you don’t have any underlying symptoms as you enter the Church. The health and the safety of all parishioners are of prime importance to us.
- Please follow the directions of the Stewards. Sanitise your hands as you enter the Church. Also bring your own hand sanitiser if you wish.
- A Two Meter Social Distancing rule continues to apply, unless you are using a face mask, and then one meter plus applies.
- Offertory Baskets and Boxes are available on entry into the Church for your Offertory Envelopes and other donations. Or please make your donations online. Details in Newsletter. Thank you!
- Please take your seats in the Church using the side aisles, (see directions on the walls). Families can sit close together.
- There will be no use of Printed Materials. (Mass Books, Hymn Books). You can receive a Parish newsletter as you leave the Church. These are also published on the Parish Website; and many are already receiving Newsletters via e-mail.
- There will be no use of Holy Water as you enter and leave the Church.
- There will be no Singing. (Possibly only Fr. John).
- There will be No Offertory Procession.
- There will be No Prayers of Intercession.
- There will be no Sign of Peace. (Only a gesture; bowing to your neighbour)
- There will be No reception of Communion form the Chalice.
FOR THE RECEPTION OF HOLY COMMUNION:
The Communion Rite:
- After the prayer and its response “Behold the Lamb of God…Lord I am not worthy,” the priest should hold up the Host to the Congregation and say audibly “The Body of Christ” to which the people should respond “Amen.” In the same way, he elevates the chalice and says, “The Blood of Christ” and again the people respond “Amen.” The priest should receive Holy Communion under both kinds using his own Host and Chalice. The priest will need to explain this to the congregation at this point. There are two options for the distribution of Holy Communion. In both cases, because the people have already acclaimed the presence of the Lord, at the Priest’s Communion, the People’s Communion is distributed in silence with no dialogue between minister and communicant.
- Once the priest has received Holy Communion, he should cleanse his hands with alcohol sanitiser before opening the pre-prepared ciborium for the Communion of the people. They should then cleanse their hands again before receiving their ciborium from which they remove the covering or pall if it is still in place. (Fr. John will give Holy Communion alone).
- At the place where communion is to be distributed, a physical barrier should be placed, for example a prie-dieu (kneeler on the priest’s side) or small table to socially distance the priest Guidance for the Celebration of Mass 3 distributing Holy Communion from communicants.
- Communion must be given silently in the hand only, with the communicant standing, and 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 the 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.
- There are strict guidelines after Mass for the Priest to follow regarding the cleaning and sanitising of the Sacred Vessels, and preparing the Altar for the Next Mass.
- ON LEAVING THE CHURCH: It is recommended that you leave via the central aisle; and also by the Central Doors which will both be open. It is also advised not to congregate outside the Church to socialise, but go straight home. Obviously this is sad, as many of you will not have seen one another for a long period of time.
PERSONAL COMMENT: I know all of these rules and regulations appear very stringent; but your personal health and safety is my prime importance. We will continue to livestream Mass for the housebound and vulnerable. It’s nearly fourteen weeks since the lockdown. But I am so happy that we will be able to gather once again, though be it, with restrictions. These are unprecedented times. Let us all be sensible and careful!
May God Bless You All & Keep you Safe,
With Love & Peace to you All.