From Fr John’s desk… Changes to the Covid-19 pandemic regulations
This week the clergy received notification from the archdiocese concerning the lifting of regulations. The following is taken from that communication:
Due to the fact that the pandemic is far from over it is not the intention to restore an obligation to the attendance at Sunday Mass at this point. However, people should be reminded of the importance of keeping Sunday holy and if possible attending Mass weekly.
In preparation for the legal changes to Covid regulations that will come into force on Monday July 19th this is what is being offered as the way forward for each parish in the Archdiocese:
Face coverings will remain mandatory for all those coming to a church service (exemptions for medical reasons excluded)
Social distancing will not be mandatory in our churches.
Hand sanitising will remain necessary as people arrive. There will be no need to sanitise benches or people at the end. The stewards will be on hand to remind people to do this as they enter the church.
The capacity of each church will depend on point 2 above.
The numbers for weddings, funerals, baptisms are limited by the capacity of each building.
The Sunday Liturgy:
The Readers and Servers will resume their ministries.
The procession and reception of Holy Communion (in the hand) should be restored to its traditional place within the Mass. It is recommended that a steward be used to invite people to the Communion procession row by row.
Communion on the tongue is permissible but it must take place at the end of Communion and the priests must use sanitiser after each communicant has presented themselves.
Holy Communion under both kinds will not be re-introduced at this time.
Mass will end in the traditional way.
Singing can be restored. Hymn books and service books can be used but only once a day.
The basket for the Sunday collection will be on the table as you enter the church.
The Procession of Gifts may be restored (those carrying the gifts will sanitise beforehand)
The shaking of hands for the sign of peace will not be restored at this time.
In the week from 15 to 21 May, Pax Christi, the Catholic Peace organisation, will be trying to raise funds to make up for lost income due to Covid-19. Fausta is having a dance-a-thon, Bruce is delivering a peace message to foreign embassies in London, Matt is cycling 50 miles visiting peace sites, Pat is going on a walk from Victoria to the Peace Pagoda in Battersea Park, Rachel will be cycling for 75 miles, to celebrate Pax Christi’s 75th anniversary. More fundraisers are joining the fun.
We gather this afternoon to enter into the Lord’s Passion at 3pm. We will listen to St John’s Gospel account of Jesus’ suffering and death on the Cross.
The Veneration of the Cross will be different this year. We will not be able to make individual veneration – but once the Cross is unveiled we will venerate together with a simple genuflection.
Then we will sit awhile to reflect that in Jesus’ death the death of all those who have died – especially over this last year because of Covid, or because of delayed treatments, or because of warfare or inhumanity across the globe – will find new life in HIM who gave his life for our salvation: ‘by his wounds we are healed.’