Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Letter to the Parish as public worship is suspended

My Dear People,

We are living in extraordinary times, unprecedented in the lives of most of us.  Throughout the country we have been asked to avoid social contact as much as possible for the purpose of containing the spread of the coronavirus.  It is of the utmost importance that we all do our part to comply with this order, so that we might “flatten the curve,” that is, extend the period of time in which people will get sick, so that our health care institutions will not be overwhelmed.  Otherwise, some people will inevitably not get the health care they need and, in all likelihood, some of these will end up dying.  Even those who are willing to risk their own health in not complying with this order must realize that they may be endangering the health, and even lives, of others, since it is possible for one to have the virus for days, and perhaps even weeks, before the symptoms manifest themselves.  Hence, one could be infecting others without even realizing it. I'm sure we are all on the lookout to give special care to those self-isolating or those who can't get out easily, in regards to helping them with shopping and medication, should they need it.

Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures.  

The Celebration of Mass

I have received instructions from Archbishop Malcolm today, following all the diocese in England and Wales, that public worship is to be suspended from Friday until further notice.

This means that Stations of the Cross at 7pm tomorrow will be the last public liturgy until the crisis abates.

I will still be offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass every day in church, for all our intentions. So if you have any special intentions or offerings, you can have Mass offered for them in the usual way by sending them in or posting through the letterbox.  At least for the foreseeable future, your guardian angels are going to be taking your places in the pews as I ascend Calvary each day to offer the Sacrifice of our Redemption.

Since the celebration of Mass in public is not available, the faithful are not bound by the obligation of Sunday Mass attendance.  To be more precise: to “keep the Lord’s Day holy” is the precept of the third Commandment of the Decalogue, direct from God, to which we are always bound and can never be dispensed; however, at this time, our people are excused from keeping the Lord’s Day holy by attending Sunday Mass.  This means that our people must keep the Lord’s Day holy in other ways, at home.

Please consider praying the Mass Scriptures and readings if you have a missal. 

If you do not have a missal, I will put the Sunday Mass texts for both forms on this blog so that you can pray through these with your family. You may also find other useful information there.

If you have Sky tv, you should be able to get the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN)

or you can access it on-line for daily and Sunday Mass as well as other programmes and devotions.

Another source for on-line Mass here in our own diocese is from the FSSP church in Warrington:

It is streamed live every day but if you scroll down the page you can access the latest Mass at any time.

In conjunction with this you can make a Spiritual Communion, as I spoke about last Sunday and hopefully you took away the prayer sheets to assist you in doing this. Information here: 

You might also consider praying the Rosary with your family.

You might consider praying the Stations of the Cross - particularly if you can make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament in church on a Sunday.

Prayers in time of epidemic: 

Other Considerations

I will open the church all day on Sundays so that people may have the solace of prayer in a sacred space, especially before the Blessed Sacrament, during this distressing time.

Confessions and the Sacrament of the Sick as well as Extreme Unction are available by request. (ALL confessions will be in the Confessional with the curtain kept drawn.)

If these measures are still in place at the time of Holy Week, there will be further information, especially concerning Confessions.

Practical matters

I would ask that as you keep the Sabbath holy and pray as the domestic church, you remember to put aside your weekly offering to the Church that you would have brought on Sunday and eventually bring this when Mass resumes (otherwise there may be no church to return to!)

Please feel free to send in any prayer requests and I will put these up on the blog or Facebook page.

Please also go on to the parish Facebook page and share that with others at: 

O Mary conceived without sin - Pray for us who have recourse to thee.

God keep you all.

Fr Simon

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thank you dear Father for the fatherly care you show by pointing us to ways online that we can still live as Christ's Church!

oremus pro invicem

a brother priest

- much encouraged by your effort in these changing times!