|Letter from Fr Mark McManus 19th March|
|Dear Parishioners of St Joseph's & St Charles,|
|I wish you all a blessed and holy feast day. Considering that we cannot use our church today it is even more important that we observe and celebrate the day in a variety of other ways – both spiritual and festive! I remind you that tomorrow evening's Mass will be celebrated as the Mass of St Joseph.
Despite it being a bit parky we had 40 people at Mass outside last Saturday and 80 on the Sunday. It was lovely to see you all.
Our public Masses this coming week at St Joseph's church should be:
Saturday, 20 March, at 5.00pm &
Sunday, 21 March, at 10.00am
As these Masses will be celebrated OUTSIDE it is important to note that:
St Joseph's Ceiling RepairsWe are on schedule to be back inside St Joseph's church next weekend. Work has continued apace and the boarding will be finished today (I have attached some photographs below). This means that next week's work will see the completion of any small fillings, etc., the application of a protective coating and then the panels to be painted.
Particular thanks must go to those people who have made donations towards the costs of the work - either through the Building Fund or directly - which have so far totalled £2000. Such generosity is very much appreciated and just one expression of the care and devotion of our parish community.
Finally, I thank you for your continuing patience and understanding and I would remind you that no unauthorised entry to the church is permitted during the works.
Booking a place for the Holy Week Triduum & Easter MassesIn order to manage the demand and allow people to gather safely you will need to book your place(s) for one of these services before next Friday, 26 March. The Mass on Maundy Thursday evening is now fully booked.
Lenten Stations of the CrossOur Deacon, Simon Hegarty, is offering a Stations of the Cross via Zoom today and next Friday evening, 26 March. You will need to email Simon for the link so that he can invite you into the event: firstname.lastname@example.org
This week Louise George offers Mary's way of the Cross which can found here or Facebook page or at: https://www.loom.com/share/70116e8c7eff4e8d803e94562bb1f2d3
National Day of ReflectionHere is a statement from the Bishops' Conference on the National Day of Reflection for COVID-19, this Tuesday, 23 March, which asks us to make this not only a Day of Reflection but also a Day of Prayer.
Attending churchThe recently published government "roadmap" for easing Covid restrictions will see little change in our churches for the next couple of months. The first real difference may be seen from 'no earlier than 17 May' when baptisms (with no more than 30 people) can resume again and finally, please God, from 'no earlier than 21 June' when 'all legal limits on social contact will be removed.' Whether there will still be some restrictions concerning the numbers allowed inside the building or the wearing of face-coverings in certain circumstances remains to be seen. For now, let us continue to give thanks to all those who keep the light of faith alight at home or in church and pray we may continue to operate in safety and give witness to the world.
Please remember that there is no obligation to attend the public celebration of Mass at present and that you can make a spiritual offering of your own self-denial. Let us remain vigilant and do all that we can to respect the health and safety of each other. If you are in the shielding category please follow guidance from the NHS.
FACE COVERINGS ARE REQUIRED IN CHURCH
UNLESS YOU HAVE AN EXEMPTION THIS IS NOW LAW
For those who have been vaccinated please remember that this does not provide immunity from the COVID Virus but in the majority of cases does prevent severe symptoms developing.
You MUST NOT come to church if: You are unwell or somebody in your household has coronavirus symptoms, for example a cough or high temperature. Please follow the directions of the stewards.
Some Intentions for PrayerHere are some intercessions that you may wish to use in your personal or family prayer.
First Holy Communion 2020 & 2021Given that we don't yet know at what capacity the church might be operating after 21 June, I have judged it prudent not to schedule the St Joseph's First Communion Masses for a regular Sunday Mass time. This will allow us to maximise the number of families and guests who may wish to attend. Accordingly, I propose that we celebrate First Holy Communion with the:
Class of 2020 on Saturday, 10 July, at 10.00am &Louise George will be in touch with regard to preparation - much of it on-line - and I encourage you to engage with the process as much as is possible. Many thanks.
Class of 2021 on Saturday, 18 September, at 10.00am
Church Cleaning & StewardingThe continuing work of our voluntary church cleaners and stewards remains the bedrock of our ability to open and use our church. Without them the church would be closed and we are immensely thankful for all that they do. If you have returned to church, have seen how things are done, and now feel ready and able to volunteer then please contact me. More hands help spread the load. Thank you.
Car ParkingWith Mass taking place outside this weekend the car park is closed for that time.
Track & Trace App & QR CodeWe shall continue to record the names and contact details for people attending the church for private prayer. We now display at the entrance to the church and also inside a QR code so that, if you have a smartphone, you can scan the QR code when you arrive, using the NHS COVID-19 app. This is to help trace and stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Finally, this week's newsletter is here.
Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us.
St Joseph, pray for us.
St Charles Borromeo, pray for us.
With my prayers,
Rev. Mark McManus