Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales
Statement from the Catholic Bishops of England Sunday – it is our Day1 On 19th July, the current legislative powers which assist the mitigations against the covid-19 virus transmission will be rescinded by HM Government. Nevertheless, there will be an encouragement to personal and corporate responsibility in this area; as the Prime Minister said in his most recent statement “The pandemic is not over.” Even without this legislation in place, the Church in England and Wales will be adopting a cautious approach to capacity and activity within our buildings, especially at corporate acts of worship.
We are mindful of the certain fact that the Covid-19 virus is still circulating in society. Vaccines provide genuine protection against the worst effects of the virus, yet we recognise the legitimate fear on the part of some who otherwise desire to gather for Holy Mass. It is our continuing judgement, therefore, that it is not possible at the present time for all of the faithful to attend Mass on a Sunday thus fulfilling their duty to God.
It is hoped that it will be possible for all Catholics in England and Wales to fulfil this most important Church precept, that of the Sunday Obligation, by the First Sunday in Advent 2021. In the meantime, all Catholics are asked to do their best to participate in the celebration of the weekly Sunday Mass and to reflect deeply on the centrality of Sunday worship in the life of the Church.
In April, following our Plenary Assembly, we offered a reflection on the experience of the extraordinary long months of the pandemic. It was titled The Day of the Lord. We also began to look at the way forward. We spoke about the important invitation to restore the Sunday Mass to its rightful centrality in our lives. We asked for a rekindling in our hearts of a yearning for the Real Presence of the Lord in the Eucharist, as our response to the total, sacrificial love that Jesus has for us. We said: “The Eucharist should be the cause of our deepest joy, our highest manner of offering thanks to God and for seeking his mercy and love. We need to make it the foundation stone of our lives.”
May this continue to be our striving during these coming months as we journey back to the full celebration of our Sunday Mass and our renewed observance of The Day of the Lord.
1 St Jerome, In Die Dominica Paschae II
Our priority is your safety. For the next number of weeks we will be following the guidelines of the Bishop’s Conference to continue protecting parishioners:
- We will be considering the local conditions of the virus and rates of vaccinations in the area.
- We will continue to provide hand sanitiser to be used at the entrance and exit of church.
- Face coverings should be worn by those in church.
- Cleaning will continue, especially of common areas.
- For the time being, social distancing will remain with a gradual opening of benches over the coming weeks.
- Windows will be opened to allow for ventilation of the church.
- Music and singing will be phased in gently, with face coverings being worn by the congregation.
- Track and trace will continue, so please do sign in each time you arrive at church as there may not be a steward to do this for you.
- Communion can only be received in the hand, for the time being.