Dear Parishioners of St. Mary’s
I cannot say how pleased and delighted I am to be able to open the doors of our parish church once again for the worship of God with the people of God present in flesh and blood. I sense that Victory Over Covid Day (VOC Day!) is dawning. What a joy that gives us all and what hope! What gratitude also to the Lord for seeing us through this horrible year of trial!
Although churches can open on Friday 26th March, we will only reopen for the Vigil Mass of Palm Sunday. The list of all the Holy Week Liturgies can be found in the file attached above, as well as the phone number or booking and the times for booking.
You will note that our stewards have kindly agreed to come out especially for the weekday 10am Mass on the Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week. The Monday of Holy Week is, sadly, the Requiem Mass of Moira Johnston, so only the invited guests of the family may attend. It is my hope, nonetheless, that the extra two days with morning Mass will give some of you a chance to attend something in Holy Week if there is no room left at the principal celebrations from Thursday to Sunday.
Our joy is tempered, of course, not only by the terrible suffering and loss of life which many have endured, but by the fact that we must still adhere to the safety precautions enjoined on us by the authorities. We have come thus far in observing them, so it is vital that we do not throw caution to the wind and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. So, however tedious it may seem, I must insist that in coming to church you:
*Do not park on the church grounds
*Do not come to a Mass you have booked for if you have a temperature for any reason and/or if you have any classic symptom of Covid-19. In this case, please phone the booking number to cancel your place so that someone else can get it
*Wear a face mask, not just for your own protection but also for the protection and psychological security of others
*Sanitise your hands on entering
*Observe 2 metre safe distancing at all times
*Follow faithfully the directions given by the stewards
*Remain in your place until and unless you are invited to move (in an emergency, if you can, raise your hand and a steward will come to assist you)
*Do not sing at all or speak to anyone without your mask on
*Sanitise your hands on leaving
*Do not gather in the aisles of the church, in the porch or even outside, but only once you have left the church grounds. It is important that we be seen to observe safe distancing by curious passers-by
As before, the Church will be disinfected before and after each Mass. All items used by myself on the sanctuary will likewise have been sanitised and touched only by myself, after thoroughly sanitising my own hands.
Please remember that, as you enter into the body of the church, there will be a basket for your ordinary collection money. I suggest you prepare it before you come to church and put it in an envelope. If there is a special collection, the basket will be at the door as you leave the body of the church. Again, it would be good to prepare your donation before you come to Mass.
I do apologise most sincerely for all these do’s and don’ts, but ….
I truly look forward to seeing the top half of your faces when you return! My monastic retreat is at last over!!
With warmest affection to each and everyone of you, and may the good Lord bless you and your loved ones with his choicest gifts.
Sincerely in Christ