Closure of churches on Sundays as well as weekdays

Following the statement from the Chief Medical Officer on Sunday and the alarming rise in the number of infections in Warrington as well as across the UK, and following the lead of our Dean, Fr David Heywood, I have made the decision to close St Stephen’s and St Bridget’s on Sundays as well as during the week for the time being.

Last week, the Archbishop wrote to all the priests of the Archdiocese. In his letter, he said: “Although I have circulated the recent government advice on the opening of churches, I want to emphasise that the final decision in this regard is yours. Only you know your people, their age profile and the risks that they are likely to be exposed to and present to others. You have to consider your volunteers and stewards. You also have yourself to consider and I would not want you to expose yourself unnecessarily to infection from the virus… Now is the time to make wise decisions for the good of all.”

Although the Government have allowed places of worship to stay open for communal worship, we have to ask ourselves: is it wise to do so? All the priests of the area have wrestled with this question in recent days. However, the rise in the number of people being admitted to hospital in the last seven days has confirmed that it is not wise to keep our churches open for the time being.

We are asked to STAY AT HOME as much as possible. This is the only way to prevent the spread of infection.

Let us create in our homes a sacred place of prayer and let us join together electronically for the time being through our video Mass available each Sunday on our website.

Fr John McLoughlin. P.P.