All the Masses will continue to be livestreamed on the Parish Webcam. Please visit the Parish Website for further information.
Latest Covid Guidance from The Catholic Bishops’ Conference March 22
As the Government has now lifted most of the Covid-19 restrictions and exhorted all people to adopt the recommendations of the “Covid Response: Living with Covid-19” document, the principal means of protecting people who attend Catholic Churches in England and Wales is through participation in the Government vaccination programme. Those who are fully vaccinated (i.e. two routine vaccinations plus booster) will have significant personal resilience against major illness from the Covid-19 virus and its variants. The Catholic Church has promoted the participation of all in the vaccination programme as part of its mitigation of virus transmission in church and ancillary buildings.
Alongside the positive effects of covid vaccination, it should be stressed that any people displaying symptoms of Covid-19 should stay at home and not participate in acts of worship in church. This is good practice for any transmissible illness. Medical advice should be sought as appropriate for those who are ill.
The following points are suggested as methods of good practice against the transmission of the virus in our churches:
- Hand sanitiser should be available for all to use at places of entry and exit to our churches.
- The necessity for social distancing is removed so churches should operate up to their normal capacity figures.
- Those who wish to wear a face covering may do so during the celebration of Mass.
- The use of hymn books and other worship aids are permitted as part of the liturgy. Servers and their various ministries (acolyte, book-bearer, incense) are to be encouraged to return.
- The vessels containing the altar breads for consecration at Mass should remain covered until the moment of distribution of Holy Communion to the faithful.
- Holy Communion is to be distributed to the faithful under one kind only (i.e. the Sacred Host). At concelebrations involving a number of priests, communion for them should be by intinction of the Sacred Host in the Precious Blood.
- Those who distribute Holy Communion should wear a face covering and sanitise their hands before doing so.
- Singing can occur and there is a general encouragement to wear face coverings while singing. However, it is recognised that not everyone will feel able to do this.
- Contact tracing ended on 24 February and so there is no need for track and trace QR codes or other means (e.g. Mass booking systems) in our churches from now on.
Specific notes for Lent and Easter
On Ash Wednesday, the imposition of ashes should take place at the normal point in the liturgy. These can be administered in two ways:
- The traditional way in these countries of daubing a cross on the forehead of the person.
- The “continental” manner of sprinkling the ashes on the crown of the penitent.
In either case, the person distributing the ashes should sanitise their hands before and wash them afterwards and wear a face covering.
On Holy Thursday, the Washing of the Feet as part of the rite of the Mandatum is restored. The celebrant should wear a face covering whilst performing this rite.
On Good Friday, the Veneration of the Cross is also restored. Those who approach the Cross, after making the customary reverence before it, can either touch the Cross in a devotional way or kiss the Cross provided that an alcoholic wipe is used to clean the place that is venerated after each kiss by the faithful.
The Easter Vigil is restored in its full Rite. The faithful gathering for the ceremonies can have candles and the baptismal liturgy can take place along with any associated confirmations. For the anointings as part of this, the thumb or a cotton bud can be used, with the celebrant taking care to cleanse his hands appropriately. The sprinkling of the faithful during the vidi aquam is permitted.
Whilst the circulation of the virus continues in society, the clear direction of the UK Government is that after two years of restrictions and following the successful roll-out of the vaccination programme, the usual patterns of life should return. This is true for the life of the Church in England in Wales in all of its activities. Whilst recognising this principle, there should be vigilance at the local level in terms of viral infection and transmission and local adaptations should be put in place.
Rev. Canon Christopher Thomas
28 February 2022
More information on Holy Cross Parish guidance on the Website Home page and Church doors.
The parish answerphone, 0208 647 0022 and email email@example.com
For the weekend Masses we have a rota of people willing to be stewards and to count in and record the numbers attending. The capacity of the Church and Sanctuary will return to pre-pandemic levels.
The Catholic Church Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
Bishops’ Statement: Honouring Sunday
During the pandemic, public worship was suspended for a time and there have been restrictions on parish life. As a result, people have been exploring other ways to practice their faith including Spiritual Communion via live streaming.
As people begin returning to more regular patterns of parish life and following the first face to face meeting of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales in Leeds, the bishops have issued the following statement about the importance of honouring Sunday:
As the Synodal Pathway of listening and discerning unfolds, we the bishops of England and Wales, are paying particular attention to the hopes and fears, the joys, and anxieties of all who are sharing their thoughts and feelings with us.
Longing for our Lord
We are attentive to the experience of the last year or so, when we have lived our faith through the limitations of the pandemic. We have heard of the longing which some express as a “homesickness”. We want to be in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. We yearn to celebrate the sacraments together, especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We desire to be nourished by our Lord in Holy Communion. The live streaming of the Mass and the remarkable response of our Catholic communities to those in need, have provided comfort, sustenance and resilience.
The Eucharist, source, and summit
The Eucharist is the source and summit of our spiritual and pastoral life. Many people have said to us that they have appreciated the noble simplicity of the Mass at this time, which has allowed the mystery and majesty of our Lord’s sacrificial love to shine through.
The central appeal of the Mass, its beauty, and its transcendence, raises our minds and hearts to God in an unambiguous and compelling manner. Our Lord Jesus invites us to receive anew the gift of Sunday as the preeminent day, the day of the Resurrection, when the Church gathers to celebrate the Eucharist. Here we stand together before our heavenly Father, offering our thanksgiving and prayer, through our Saviour in the Holy Spirit. Here we receive Christ in his Word. Here we are nourished by Christ in his precious Body and Blood. This is our primary joy, for which there is no substitute, and from which we draw our strength.
The Gift of the Sunday Eucharist
The Sunday Eucharist is a gift; as God’s holy people we are called to praise and thank God in the most sublime way possible. When the Church speaks of the Sunday obligation, it reminds us that attending Mass is a personal response to the selfless offering of Christ’s love.
At this time, we recognise that for some people there may be certain factors which hinder attendance at Sunday Mass. The pandemic is clearly not over. The risk of infection is still present. For some, there is legitimate fear in gathering together. As your bishops, we recognise that these prevailing circumstances suggest that not everyone is yet in the position to fulfil the absolute duty to attend freely Sunday Mass.
Responding to the Gift
We now encourage all Catholics to look again at the patterns which they have formed in recent months with regard to going to Mass on Sundays. This would include consideration and reflection about what we might do on Sundays, such as sports or shopping, or other leisure and social activities. This review, and the decisions which arise from it, fall to every Catholic and we trust this will be done with honesty, motivated by a real love for the Lord whom we encounter in the Mass.
The Sunday Mass is the very heartbeat of the Church and of our personal life of faith. We gather on the “first day of the week,” and devote ourselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:42). The Eucharist sustains us and spurs us on, renewing our gratitude and our hope. When we say “Amen” to Christ in receiving his Body and Blood, we express the love of God which is deep within us, and at the end of Mass, when we are sent forth, we express our love for our neighbour, especially those in need. These two dimensions reveal the full meaning of our faith. We are gathered together and sent out, we pray and are fed, we worship and we adore; these are intrinsic to our lives as those baptised into Christ.
Approved at the Plenary Assembly of Bishops in Leeds – Friday, November 19th, 2021
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