|Letter from Fr Mark McManus 15th May|
|Dear Parishioners of St Joseph's & St Charles,|
|Let us remember the children and their families who were due to celebrate First Holy Communion this Sunday, 17 May. We pray they are safe and free from all harm.
We pray also that they may soon be able to resume their spiritual journey and prepare to receive our Blessed Lord in the Most Holy Eucharist by coming together and celebrating with us in church.
Please remember that next Thursday, 21 May, is a holy day. Obviously the obligation to attend Mass on that day has been removed but the obligation to celebrate the feast has not. Make it a good one!
I have attached this weekend's newsletter.
At some time in the near future, and only following an inspection and subsequent permission from the diocese, we hope to be able to open our churches, initially for a set period, and probably for private prayer only. If this is the case, then I am minded to simply use the narthex at St Joseph's but we have yet to see if this is practicable and permitted.
Looking ahead, we will need to ensure that we have some volunteers who are willing to act as stewards during the time the church is open for public use or services and cleaners to clean benches etc. when the church is closed ready for the next time the church is open. Depending on how this goes we might not be able to do this daily - it will depend on the number of volunteers - and access inside the church will have to be regulated also, with regard to social-distancing, etc. This however, may have the positive side effect in keeping the area that requires regular cleaning to a reasonable minimum. Sorry, I wish I knew.
There are discussions going on about the necessary materials and training that will or might be required, and when I have more details I will let you know. Our bishop has asked that we "begin to identify volunteers willing" to help. Although we do not yet know the details therefore, I would nevertheless ask you to please give this some thought. If you initially say yes and later decide you are unable for any reason to go ahead then that is perfectly acceptable.
As government instruction stands, any volunteers would have to be under the age of 70 and without an underlying health issue that might put them at risk, which means that many parishioners whom we could rely on in the past will not be able to help.
If you think you can assist, please contact me.
Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, pray for us.
St Joseph, pray for us.
St Charles Borromeo, pray for us.
With my prayers,
Fr Mark McManus