PENTECOST SUNDAY May 31st 2020
On this last day of May the Church would normally celebrate the feast of the Visitation of Our Lady, but this year our celebration of the Solemnity of Pentecost, with the coming of the Holy Spirit, takes precedence.
Let us ask Mary our mother to enlighten us in our Pentecost celebration. She is par excellence the woman of the Holy Spirit, touched as she was by the Spirit of God at the Annunciation and again as she joined in prayer with the Apostles after the death and resurrection of her beloved Son.
The mystery of the Visitation finds Mary, moved by the Spirit, reaching out to her cousin Elizabeth and to her unborn child John the Baptist. May the Spirit lead us to reach out in prayer and love to God our heavenly Father and to our neighbours in their need.
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love. Alleluia!
FAITHFUL DEPARTED: Please pray for the repose of the soul of of Maria-Jose Silveirinha, one of our regular parishioners who died this week. Our condolences to Paolo and the family. Pray too for the repose of the soul of Peter Bonsal’s father who has died just a couple of weeks before his 100th birthday.
May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen
WALSINGHAM PILGRIMAGE: You are invited to make a spiritual pilgrimage to Walsingham on Saturday, 13 June. The Pilgrim Mass is at 12 noon and is available via the internet following the link http://www.walsingham.org.uk/.
RE-OPENING OF CHURCHES FOR PRIVATE PRAYER.
(an extract from the guidance we have been given)
We don’t yet have a date when this will be allowed but it could be only a few weeks away so we need to be prepared. Please note this is for private prayer only not for public mass.
The Bishop will only authorise the re-opening of churches where it is safe and practical to do so. This means that churches will have to be able to create a safe environment for prayer but also have a sufficient number of volunteers to act as stewards.
Safe Environment. To qualify each church must: have an area for private prayer with two points of access so that an ‘in’ and ‘out’ system can be established.
There should be antibacterial gel dispensers at the entrance and way out and notices to remind people to use them. There should be notices reminding people of the social distancing guidelines.
Stoups should be emptied and covered over.
Have seats or pews that are not upholstered and which can be easily cleaned down. Seats or pews should be marked out with the social distancing guideline of 2m in all four directions.
There should be no hymn books, prayer books or cards or any other paper materials accessible.
Please note that the Local Authority may audit the provisions made as they have been tasked with managing the re-opening of churches.
For safe access to churches to work there will need to be stewards primarily to control access to clean down seats after use. These stewards will need to be healthy individuals and not part of the group of people who are being ‘shielded’. That means that they should be less than 70 years of age and not in receipt of a letter from their health centre telling them to stay at home for health reasons.
In practice it will be the availability of volunteer stewards that will dictate whether to open churches and for how long. There should be a minimum of two stewards at any one time.
Priests. Whilst we can see Priests wanting to be involved they must follow government guidelines and if they are over 70 they should stay at home.
However that does not preclude a parish from opening up if that process is organised by a Deacon or other responsible person.
The church would need thorough cleaning before each occasion it is used. Benches need to be taped to allow the 2 metre social distancing. ... and so the list goes on
We’ll need to decide which of our churches to prepare, for how many days (perhaps just 1) for which day (is Sunday the best day) and for what time (eg from 9 - 12 noon)
If you have some ideas about some of the above or could volunteer for the cleaning or steward rota please email us at email@example.com
And remember all this is necessary just to open up for private prayer. As a parish and diocese we need to get this right if we are going to progress towards opening the church for public prayer.
(Continued on News & Events page)
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