As we enter the first phase of relaxing the restrictions caused by the COVID 19 virus on May 18th many people have told me how much they would like to have the church open for private prayer. I am totally in agreement with that idea.

There are a variety of opinions on how this might happen and what we would expect from our parishioners entering the church. Everyone has got used to the two general pieces of advice, “Wash your hands” and “Social distance” and these would be vitally important for us to observe. People are also aware that it’s better to keep activity short, certainly staying in the church for less than 15 mins.

During the times that church is open it would be great if the doors were left open, hence no need to touch handles etc. Then inside the church we would place hand sanitisers for everyone to use. If parishioners then took some blue paper from the table, spray it with the disinfectant, and used the paper to wipe any surfaces you touch that would help keep the church sanitised for everyone. Then drop the paper into the bin before leaving. Wash your hands when you return home.

The Sacristan and cleaners will assist with some of the opening and closing and emptying of bins and supplies etc but we might also need some volunteers.

It is hard to know if there is a need to have someone volunteer to control numbers. In ordinary time it would be very unusual to have even 4 people in the church, praying at any one time. A reasonable limit would be 10 people in total and unless there is a big rush it might not be necessary to have someone managing the numbers.

During this time, it is absolutely not allowed to gather groups for shared prayers or devotions. The Blessed Sacrament Chapel remains closed.

As we move towards July 20th we will also reflect on how best to reintroduce Mass, Holy Communion and other celebrations of sacraments such as Baptism and Weddings.

During the week ahead please think about the proposed opening of the church and feel free to share your opinions. If you are under 70, from a household with no vulnerable members and would like to volunteer to support the opening of the church please let us know at the parish office.

In the meantime stay safe, join the Mass on the webcam and let’s all keep each other in our prayers.

Fr Joe