Cautious reopening of our church for public worship
What to expect when we reopen St Mary’s
(UPDATED SEPTEMBER 2020)
from Fr Gerry
As we indicated in our earlier leaflet we wouldn’t be surprised if we had to make some changes – since then we have had to take into account some new requirements and this, together with our Risk Assessment, has caused us to have to revise our previous intentions.
This has led to some quite fundamental changes in how we need to organise things, so we are sending out this update – we don’t expect any more major changes but advise you to check our Parish Website to keep up-to-date just in case.
Masses at St Mary’s will be celebrated as follows:
on Saturday at 4.30pm; and
on Sunday at 8.30am,
commencing on Saturday 1st August.
This is the “new normal” that we will all have to live with for the foreseeable future – you will be asked to follow some procedures that are, to say the least, a bit different from the usual, but I am sure that everyone will co-operate to ensure that we can all continue our Worship in a safe way.
God bless you
Entry to the church will be via the “Disabled Entrance” only - social distancing must be observed when waiting to enter. On entry you must use the hand sanitiser provided, your temperature may be tested and you must wear a face covering.
We will need to record the contact details of attendees – you will need to provide your name and contact telephone number to the volunteer steward on entry to the church. To make this process as speedy as possible we will record these details in a register which will be used for your future visits.
The maximum attendance at Mass will be 60 people, although social distancing requirements will dictate the actual size of the congregation we can accommodate.
Access to the Service will be closed if and when the available space is filled - access to the church will be on a first-come first-served basis.
Please show understanding if the church is full when you arrive.
At the end of Mass you will exit using the usual doors. Should you need to leave the church whilst other churchgoers are still arriving you will need to exit via the “Anderton Door”.
In an emergency requiring the church to be evacuated all exits will be usable.
Movement within the church will be one-way system at all times – the side aisles for movement towards the Altar, the centre aisle for movement away from the Altar, although importantly the centre aisle will be used when entering the church.
Strict social distancing will apply - every other row of benches will be closed off and the church will be filled from the front. Volunteer stewards will direct you to your bench. Individuals will be directed to sit at either end of a bench, although family groups may sit together with a maximum of 4 people per bench. A bench may therefore contain 2, 3 or 4 people and so it is possible that the church will be “full” when there are only 40 people present!
It is very important that parishioners accept the responsibility to ensure that they are at least 1 metre apart from anyone from a different household.
Volunteer stewards will assist and advise in the event of any confusion.
The aisles must not be blocked with any object but the area at the back of the church will provide space for wheelchair users, where there will also be a small number of seats for those who are unable to use the normal benches. Sufficient space must be left to maintain the necessary social distancing from other churchgoers.
Kneeling is not permitted – sitting and standing only please!
The lighting of Votive candles is not permitted.
Single-use Mass sheets/Newsletters will be available – please take these away after Mass.
The church toilet will not be in use, except for emergencies. Once used, the toilet will be unavailable until it has been sanitised.
Collection baskets will be available at the church entrance/exit for your weekly envelopes or other contribution.
Please be extra-considerate when using the church car park – remember that some people may not gain access to the church if it is full and will need to leave the car park early! Remember that it might be you next time and don’t block anyone in or block the car park exit!
You will be asked to move your car if necessary.
Please adhere to the signage and floor markings present in and around the church, and follow any requests made by the volunteer stewards – thank you.
Reference has been made in this leaflet to “volunteer stewards” – we will need at least 3 volunteers per Mass and are inviting volunteers to join a Rota. If you are able to help please send an email to the parish mailbox or contact Fr Gerry direct. If you consider yourself to be “clinically vulnerable” as per the Government’s Covid-19 regulations please think carefully about volunteering.
Holy Communion will be distributed at the end of Mass at the rear of the church in the form of the Sacred Host only.
Volunteer stewards will control the flow of communicants, calling them forward one bench at a time into the centre aisle, starting from the rear of the church and working forward to the front.
Communicants must maintain social distancing in the queue and must approach the minister with arms outstretched to receive the Host. Following the receipt of the Host, communicants must immediately leave the church without returning to their bench. To this end please do not bring any unnecessary items into church!
Should a churchgoer not wish to receive Holy Communion or the Blessing they will be required to leave their bench at the same time as those going to receive the Host and exit the church via the centre aisle.
The Archdiocese has published a "What to Expect" leaflet describing the "Cautious reopening of our churches for public worship".
Click the icon below to read
The Archdiocese has published a short video to help to describe the
"Cautious reopening of our churches for public worship".
Click below to view
Previous relevant Coronavirus updates
Click here to see the latest information from the Archdiocese plus links to the live streaming of Masses.
The Parish is obviously experiencing a considerable shortfall in income in the form of our weekly plate collection - the Archdiocese has introduced a system whereby you can make your contributions either online or via text - please follow this link for further details and to contribute if you wish to do so.