As you know things now seem to moving in the right direction as regards the pandemic and each day more of us have had the vaccination which should enable us to return to a more normal pattern of parish life.
We discussed this at the meeting of the Parish Pastoral Council this week. A whole range of opinions were expressed, not about a decision to resume public worship but as to the timing and as to what we make available. Having listened carefully, and with the caveat that nobody should feel under pressure to attend, I have decided that we will resume public worship from the Easter Triduum which begins on Maundy Thursday evening.
There is every hope that as the vaccine increases levels of immunity we can begin the slow but steady journey towards recovering our normal worshipping life as a parish. As one member of the PPC put it: Isn't it the church's duty now to open its doors and allow the beginnings of that journey of recovery no matter how quickly or slowly each of us might choose to walk through those doors?
Before I say anything else on this issue please can I say clearly that the first priority going forward is that people must still do all they can to stay safe and to keep others safe. It is for this reason that there is currently no obligation to attend Mass, even at Easter, i.e. there is no ‘Easter Duty’ this year.
Staying Safe Nothing has changed in terms of staying safe in church (and on the way to and from church) so all the safeguards which were in place before the lockdown are still there. It will still be necessary to reserve in advance a place at Mass, social-distancing is still with us, face coverings will need to be worn, and there should be no socialising before or after Mass or in church. The option to reserve a place by phone will still be available for those who don’t use the internet.
The Easter Triduum (1st - 4th April) To help ensure safety the bishop has decided that the way in which we celebrate the Easter Triduum will be different this year. For example: we still cannot sing, there will be no washing of the feet, no procession to the altar of repose, no kissing of the Cross on Good Friday, no Easter Fire, or sprinkling with Easter Water at the Vigil and on Easter Sunday. This means the liturgies will be shorter. However, we will still celebrate the central mystery of our faith. The Easter Services will be:
7.00pm Maundy Thursday: Mass of the Lord’s Supper 3.00pm Good Friday: Solemn Commemoration of the Lord’s Passion 8.00pm Holy Saturday: Easter Vigil and first Mass of Easter 10.00am Easter Sunday: Parish Mass
We will live-stream all of these services in the usual way but from the church and not the Fr. Kelly Room. This means that the experience will be a little different but, we hope, no less prayerful or intimate. Cameras will be focussed on the sanctuary, not on the congregation so your privacy will be respected and you will not be visible to anyone watching the live stream.
How to book for the Easter Services To book by phone please ring the Parish Office (01904 791242) between 9.00am - 12.00noon on Thursday 25th March or Tuesday 30th March (please state clearly which liturgies you wish to attend). The online bookings will be available from Sunday 28th March via the website in the usual way.
Moving forwards (after Easter) We will have Mass with a congregation in church three times a week each: Sundays 9.30am (beginning 11th April, and returning to our usual time rather than 10.00am) - this will also be live-streamed Sundays 5.00pm (beginning 11th April) Wednesdays 7.00pm (beginning 14th April if there is a need for this Mass at present) To reserve a place for these Masses and in the following weeks please ring the Parish Office (01904 791242) between 9.00am - 12.00noon on a Tuesday or Thursday in the usual way or use the online booking system via the parish website (please do your best to stick to these times).