Once again it is good to be able to send you the weekly Newsletter and Readings for the celebration of Holy Mass this weekend. Hopefully you are well and safe, and life is beginning to ‘open-up’ a little bit more for you.
The Bishops of England and Wales are hoping that at the end of this month the Obligation to attend and participate in the celebration of a weekend Mass will be reintroduced having been suspended from the beginning of the Pandemic in March 2020. It would be good to think that as a nation we will be in such a good place, in regard to the health of the population, for this to happen. However, with it will come some apprehension, anxiety and fear, not least for those who have, on the whole, kept themselves to themselves over this lengthy period of time, limiting their social contacts.
As a faith community with two churches, which were amongst the very first in the Diocese to open their doors to worshipping congregations in July 2020, it is commendable that we have, throughout the last fifteen months, continued to provide safe environments in which to gather. Credit for this has to be given to a relatively small group of parishioners who acted in the capacity of Stewards, together with others who after every Mass or other event in both churches spent a good deal of time sanitising pews, touch-points and cleaning other areas of our buildings. Continuing to adhere to current Guidelines from our Health and Safety Officer we endeavour to maintain this safe environment for all entering our churches. I do therefore encourage those parishioners who have not yet crossed our thresholds to think about doing so.
During the week I celebrated a Mass with just three people in the congregation, allowing plenty of room to retain social distancing ! Our weekend congregations are numbering around the two hundred figure – or a mean of fifty at each Mass. Again, there is room to socially distance, feel safe, and at the same time begin to reconnect with the familiar. Our churches are also our spiritual homes and home is often where our hearts long to be, so please do think about healing the ache in your heart to return to your spiritual home and the celebration of Mass.
As always, the practical items of a Newsletter and the Readings come with an assurance of remembrance in prayer, thought and affection.
As ever, Fr. Nicholas