First Holy Communions

Dear Parents and Guardians

Due to the Covid–19 Coronavirus and with the possibility that the Churches will be closed soon, I am postponing the First Holy Communion Masses after Easter. We will arrange a special Communion Mass later in the year when restrictions are lifted.

Gift Aid envelopes

The Gift Aid envelopes for the new tax year beginning in April are ready to collection in the church foyer. If you pay tax and put money in the collection plate, then the church is taxed again on your offering. But if you sign a declaration and use gift aid envelopes, we can claim the tax back.

Please consider gift aid envelopes if you don’t already use them. Also, as the new tax year is almost upon us might I ask that you all consider – if you are able – to increase your weekly offering.

Coronavirus advice – updated 10/3/20

In response to the developing situation concerning the Coronavirus and COVID-19, and in order to reduce possible transmission, the Bishops’ Conference has requested that the following measures are implemented with immediate effect.
I would like all parishes and chaplaincies to follow these measures, as far as is possible, until further notice.

Archbishop Malcolm McMahon OP
10 March 2020

1) The sign of peace is to be suspended at Mass. In order not to create confusion in the minds of the lay faithful, all priests should simply omit any reference to the offering of the sign of peace, prior to the Agnus Dei.

2) Holy Communion from the chalice shall cease to be offered to the lay faithful. The practice of intinction is not to be introduced as an alternative.  Priest concelebrants however may receive communion by intinction.

3) When giving communion in the hand seek to ensure you place the host in the hand of the recipient in such a way that you do not touch their hands.

4) The faithful should be encouraged to receive the sacred host in the hand rather than on the tongue.  Their doing this represents an act of loving charity to their community.

5) Holy water stoups in churches and chapels are to be emptied.

6) Churches and chapels that are open daily for private prayer should continue to remain open.  Care should be given to ensuring that surfaces of high contact (e.g. light switches, door handles and areas around the door) are regularly sanitised throughout the day.  Ideally door handles should be cleaned before and after every Mass.

7) Priests/deacons should wash and sanitise their hands before Mass.  All ministers should discreetly wash and sanitise their hands before and after distributing Holy Communion.  Shared towels should not be used in toilet areas or the sacristy.

8) Shared hymnbooks and Mass books should cease to be used.  Single-use Mass sheets may be used, though these should be disposed of immediately after use.

9) Ask everyone attending Mass to sanitise their hands as they come into church using sanitised gel dispensers, assuming they are available.  These should be placed in porches or entrances.

10) Do not pass the collection plate around; alternative methods for the collection should be sought.

11) Mass with Anointing should be deferred until later in the year.  Priests should offer to anoint the sick in their homes.  Hands should be thoroughly washed and sanitised before and after each anointing.

12) When visiting parishioners at home, wash hands before and after giving the sacraments.  There should be no pastoral visits to people who are self-isolating until isolation ends.  However, do offer phone support.

13) Visits to people in care homes or hospitals should follow advice from the staff on infection control.

14) Suspend catering (teas, coffees etc) at large parish gatherings where multiple people touch mugs, utensils, biscuits etc.

15) Ask anyone with cold or flu symptoms to refrain from attending liturgy or other public events and to not attend the sacrament of reconciliation if symptomatic.  They may have an ordinary cold but equally it is important to ensure a precautionary approach.

16) Advise those most vulnerable to refrain from large parish gatherings and stay at home.

17) On Good Friday, the traditional ‘Veneration of the Cross’ is to be observed by a simple genuflection or bow.

18) Veneration of relics should be observed without physical contact.

First Holy Communion preparation

Our First Holy Communion preparation programme continues at St Bridget’s on Saturday 7th March at 10:30am, with the same sessions repeated at St Stephen’s on Saturday 14th March also at 10:30am.

First Holy Communion preparation

Our First Holy Communion preparation continues with sessions 4 & 5 at St Bridget’s on Saturday 1st February 10:30-12:30.

The same sessions will also take place at St Stephen’s on Saturday 8th February 10:30-12:30

First Reconciliation service

Our First Reconciliation service for those preparing for First Holy Communion will take place at St Bridget’s on Saturday 30th November at 11am.

Christmas cards to Gaza

This Christmas we are twinning with a parish in Gaza to show our solidarity with the Catholic Christians who are suffering in the Middle East; especially in Gaza.

Each of you are asked to write a Christmas Card to Holy Family Parish, Gaza. You can then drop off your card at the church in the assigned box. I will then post all the cards in a parcel to the parish priest of Holy Family Parish with covering letter saying who we are and he will then distribute the cards to his parishioners for Christmas.

Please address your card to:
Fr Mario de Silva and Parishioners, Holy Family Parish, Gaza

Boxes will be available until Sunday 24th November.

First Holy Communion preparation

Our First Holy Communion preparation course continues with sessions 2 and 3 on Saturday 9th November at St Bridget’s, starting at 10:30am.

The same sessions will take place at St Stephen’s on Saturday 16th November.