Re-opening of Our Churches for Liturgies

Published on July 4, 2020

For us as Christians, some things are foundational. From earliest times, Christians have gathered to celebrate the Eucharist on Sunday, the Lord’s Day, the first day of the week, the day of resurrection. It is a great joy for us that we can prepare for a return to celebrations of the Eucharist . Some people are fearful of gatherings of any sort at this time. This is understandable. If you are vulnerable health-wise do not rush back until you feel able and safe to do so.

We are truly sad not to be able to welcome everyone at the same time but safety is our first priority. We ask your understanding of the constraints this places on us.

· The demands of physically distancing mean that seating arrangements will be very different in our churches. Members of the same household will be able to sit together. Others will be seated at a two metre distance from each other, respecting current guidelines.  We may not be able to sit where we are accustomed to sitting because of seats being closed off.

· Holy water fonts will be empty until the advice on this changes.

· Entry will be through the main door only. The stewards will advise you on this and show you where to go. They will also indicate how to exit the church at the end of Mass.

· You will be asked to sanitise your hands on entering the church. If you have been wearing gloves coming into the church, please re-move them and place them in the bin provided before sanitising your hands.

· We are asked to remain in our seats before the liturgy begins and not to engage in devotional practices such as Stations of the Cross, visiting shrines or the lighting of candles. (Note: The sanitiser on our hands is a highly flammable product and is a fire hazard when lighting candles with a match, lighter or from a lighted candle).

· Ministers of the Word and Ministers of the Eucharist are encouraged to take up their roles if they feel able to do so. Ministers will be made aware of any specific arrangements that apply to their role beforehand.

· Health protocols will not allow the passing around of baskets for the collection during the Preparation of the Gifts. Instead, contributions to the parish collection may be given in a bucket provided in a designated place at the exit of the Church.

· The handshake for the Sign of Peace is still suspended. However, the gesture can be replaced by a moment to pause and pray in silence for the gift of peace.

· The distribution of Holy Communion will mean processing two metres apart to the altar and returning to your seat by a different aisle.

We thank you for your understanding.