“Post-lockdown” Covid procedures for our Church services
Our Covid procedures are changing with effect from 19th July – we are removing a number of the restrictions that have been in place over the last year but we are, for the time being, retaining procedures that we consider to be most important given that the pandemic is far from over!
Masses will continue be celebrated on Saturday at 4.30pm; on Sunday at 8.30am, and on Holy Days of Obligation as required. We will be inviting the views of Parishioners as to whether these Mass times need to change in the longer term.
The normal church entrance will be used - social distancing must be observed when waiting to enter. On entry you must continue to use the hand sanitiser provided and you must wear a face covering.
We no longer need to record the contact details of attendees for Track & Trace purposes, and therefore entry to the church will not be “stewarded” as has been the recent practice.
We will continue to use alternate benches and social distancing must be observed when using the benches. The maximum attendance at Mass will therefore remain at around 60 people dependent upon this social distancing (and with no standing!). Note that the number of attendees permitted at weddings, funerals and baptisms will be the same as at Mass.
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.
“One-way” movement within the church is no longer mandated, although massgoers must ensure that social distancing is maintained when moving around the church. The church will no longer be filled from the front – you may choose your own bench in which to sit (bearing in mind that every other row of benches will be closed off) and it remains very important that parishioners accept the responsibility that they are at least 1 metre apart from anyone from a different household.
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 still not permitted – sitting and standing only please!
The lighting of Votive candles is still not permitted.
The sign of peace is restored but without any touching, ie by a gesture.
Collection baskets will be available at the church entrance for your weekly envelopes or other contribution.
Holy Communion is restored to its traditional place in the Mass in the form of the Sacred Host only, and will be distributed from the altar steps.
Communicants will process to the front of the church using the centre aisle row-by-row in a single file – each side of the church joining the queue in turn. It is not intended that this will be “stewarded”, so please ensure that social distancing is maintained in the queue. Communicants must approach the minister with arms outstretched to receive the Host. Following the receipt of the Host, communicants must return to their bench using the appropriate side aisle.
End of Mass
Leaving the church at the end of Mass presents the biggest challenge in maintaining social distance – massgoers are required to leave the church row-by-row, emptying the church from the back and using the side aisles only. You must exit the church building immediately so that blockages are avoided and social distancing maintained. Please adhere to these requirements – we don’t want to have to “steward” this activity.