Parish News

Parish News

Gudelines for Attending Mass

As of July 2020, Certain changes have been made so that our services will comply with UK Government Guidance on safe use of places of worship and there are several important points everyone needs to know and to follow. We ask you all to please read these instructions carefully.
  1. The churches will be unlocked 30 minutes before the start of each Mass, to allow the stewards to guide everyone to a seat. If there is a queue to enter the church, please be patient and maintain a social distance of 2 metres minimum from any other person not in your household.
  2. Children under 16 are not allowed to enter unless accompanied by an adult.
  3. On entering the church, sanitise your hands using the sanitiser provided and put on a mask. This is compulsory. Bring your own mask if you have one or take one from a steward. Put on disposable gloves (provided) if you wish.
  4. The maximum number allowed in at any one time will be 30 at St Joseph’s and 40 at St Hugh’s, excluding the celebrant and 2 stewards. Numbers will be monitored by the stewards.
  5. Stewards will guide you to an open pew, filling up the church from the front, to minimise contact. Only the designated open pews may be used; please do not remove/change any of the roping used to close off pews. People from the same household may sit together, all others must maintain 1 metre+ social distance.
  6. We are allowed to reduce social distancing from 2 metres to 1 metre ONLY if everyone wears a face mask at all times inside the church. Obviously, if you are receiving Holy Communion, you will need to move the mask away from your mouth so that you can place the host on your tongue, and then reposition your mask.
  7. There will be no Mass books or Hymn books available, or any other reading matter. If you bring your own books, remember to take them home with you afterwards.
  8. Whilst in church, do not touch any statues or each other, do not light any candles and do not enter the sacristy, the galleries or any of the other chapels at St Hugh’s.
  9. To minimise transmission, there will be no singing, and responses should be made without raising your voice. Organ music is allowed, but not the use of instruments which are blown into.
  10. There will be one reader only, nominated by the priest before Mass. Readers must wear disposal gloves when turning pages and avoid touching the microphone. The priest will say the Prayers of the Faithful.
  11. There will be no passing round of a collection plate/bag. Donations may be placed in the bags at the back of church (or by standing order).
  12. There will be no exchange of the Sign of Peace.
  13. Holy Communion will be given silently and under one kind only. To maintain the compulsory social distancing, arrangements for the distribution of Holy Communion will be slightly different at each church:
  14. St Hugh’s: When directed by the stewards, form a single line in the centre aisle. People from the same household may queue together, all others must keep 1 metre apart, as per the floor markings. After receiving Holy Communion, return to your seat using the side aisles. Do not walk back down the centre aisle.
  15. St Joseph’s: Stewards will direct you one at a time to leave your seat, take Holy Communion and return to your seat. Only when you have returned to your pew will the stewards direct the next person to take Holy Communion. You will, of course, have to stand to one side to allow anyone else in your pew to come out. In a church with only one aisle, this the only practical way in which we can maintain 1-metre distance from each other.
At both churches, the priest will stand behind a table; as you approach the table, stretch out your hands as far as possible, with your palms upwards. The priest will stretch out his hand and place the host onto your outstretched palm. This will be done silently.
  1. After the final blessing, wait in your pew until guided out by the stewards. Again, please be patient: your safety and that of everyone else are more important that a speedy getaway.
  2. Sanitise your hands on leaving the church.
  3. Dispose of any gloves or other rubbish in the bag provided.
  4. Social distancing rules apply on all of the church property, including walkways and car parks. Please do not congregate outside, however tempting this may be.
  5. The churches will be cleaned, sanitised and locked immediately after each Mass.
  6. If you or someone in your household is suffering COVID-19 symptoms, no matter how mild, DO NOT come to church.
  7. Finally, we wish to remind parishioners, especially those in the 70+ age group, even those with no pre-existing conditions, that although lockdown restrictions are easing, the advice to this group remains ‘that they should take particular care to minimise contact with others outside their household. If they do go out, they should be careful to maintain distance from others. They and everyone should continue to comply with any general social distancing restrictions. (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do-after-4-july)
The purpose of these notes is to keep us all safe, as well as to ensure we operate within what is legally allowed. They have been compiled using UK Government Guidance, Guidance from the Bishops’ Conference, and the Covid-19 Risk Assessments which have been carried out at both churches. The priests also have a set of instructions to follow, especially with regard to hygiene.
The Risk Assessments will be evaluated weekly and updated if necessary. Any changes will be communicated via e-mail and the parish website.

A Message from the Metropolitan Archbishops of the Catholic Church in England:

The Rt The Rt Rev Alan S Hopes, Bishop of East Anglia, has asked that this letter be made available for all to read: 2020.06.24 – Archbishops’ Letter