Letter from Fr Paul: Re-opening the church

9 Jun

Dear Parishioners

ON RE-OPENING THE CHURCH

As you will no doubt be aware, the Government has given permission for places of worship to re-open under strict conditions from next Monday 15th June for private prayer only. Our ability to open next Monday will be dependant on all the necessary measures being in place by then. If they are not we will have to delay. But it will soon be possible to come in on certain days and at specified times and pray before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. I will let you know those times at the weekend and they will also be posted on the front door of the church. We are not able to resume the public celebration of Mass at this stage. This is a little further down the road and even then there will still be restrictions.

So the present situation regarding private prayer is as follows:

  • People with cold or flu-like symptoms will not be allowed to enter the church.
  • There will be a limit on the numbers permitted to enter the church at any one time and a single directional walkway will be marked out. Social distancing of two metres must be observed at all times. Please do not arrange for other people to come with you unless you are a family living in the same house.
  • The main entrance on Ashby Road will be used for entering the church and the disabled entrance on the left hand side by the Lady Altar leading into the car park will be used for exiting.
  • There will be no Holy Water in the stoups.
  • Many of the benches will be taped off or closed off. Alternate rows towards the back of the church will be reserved for people to sit in or kneel. Where you may sit on the bench will be indicated. This is necessary to maintain social distancing.
  • Paper materials such as pamphlets, leaflets, hymn books etc will be removed from the church.
  • It is not permitted to touch any of the statues. However you will be able to light votive candles at St Joseph’s Altar. Existing candles must be used to light new ones. There will be no lighters or tapers.
  • Anti-viral hand sanitiser will be provided at both the entrance and the exit to the church. Please note there will be no access to toilets during this time.
  • All surfaces, such as door handles and other frequently touched areas will need to be disinfected by the stewards throughout the day. Then after the church is closed, surfaces of the pews that have been in use as well as door handles must be washed down with warm soapy water and disinfected.
  • You may wear a face mask but this is not obligatory.
  • Parents are allowed to bring small children into the church but they will need to be managed appropriately ensuring they touch as few surfaces as possible.

Thank you to all those who have volunteered so far to act as stewards. If anyone else under the age of 70 and with no underlying health issues would like to volunteer to steward and clean the church at the end of each opening, please let me know by calling 01509 262123.

The above advice concerns the opening of the church for private prayer only. New directives will be issued in due course when public worship is able to resume.

I understand these measures are going to be a little burdensome but we must abide by the rules if we want our church to remain open. I thank you all in advance for your cooperation and support in these matters.

May God bless you all.

Fr Paul