Last updated 8th April 2022 - recent changes marked in red
The pandemic is not over
With the ending of the Government's formal Covid restrictions, much more is being left to the discretion of individuals and organisations. Please bear with us as we ease our own guidelines here in the parish of St John Paul II only gently and little by little. These are the changes you will now begin to see, and also the things which will essentially remain the same for the present:
- Please do not come to the church if you are suffering any Covid symptoms.
- We still recommend that face coverings continue to be worn in church, most especially whilst singing.
- We still recommend that hand sanitizer be used as you enter and leave the church.
- Stewards will continue to guide you in church, whilst their role will gradually move more towards a more simple welcoming.
- Holy Communion will continue to be given under "one kind" only, just in the form of bread, but the communion stations are no longer being used at the altar steps.
- Social distancing will no longer be enforced anywhere in the church, but we ask that everyone, please, respect each other's space.
- The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) has been reintroduced in the usual way, (the Confessional "Box"), but please leave the door open when you leave to allow ventilation before the next penitent enters. (We advise waiting a minute or so before you go in).
- Holy Communion may now be received on the tongue.
- We ask, now, that all our parishioners start returning to Mass in person unless they are genuinely unable or too nervous to do so. We will continue our online Masses, but encourage that these only be used in place of coming to church on Sunday (or Saturday evening) if there is a really strong reason for this. Please see the statement from the Bishops' Conference HERE.
All our weekday Masses will continue to be streamed live on the Live page of our website, on our Facebook page and also on YouTube (and remain available for later participation on Facebook). Sunday's Mass is streamed as a Vigil at 6pm on Saturday to our Facebook page and YouTube Channel for viewing also on the Live page of this website. It will remain available for participation throughout the week on the Sunday Mass page.
St Mary's Church is now open again following major restoration/renovation works. However, as some of the works are still to be completed, we may not yet move all the Services back to St Mary's as they were before the pandemic.
For all those still unable to attend, we invite you to share in the act of Spiritual Communion:
An Act of Spiritual Communion
I believe that You
are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment
receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there
and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.
Baptisms are underway, and Pam is contacting families whose application forms have been received. It will take time, but we hope to be in touch with you all shortly and make arrangements for preparation and for Baptism itself. We would ask new applicants especially to bear with us, as our backlog of families who have been waiting during the pandemic will take us, realistically, to November before we can even consider new appointments.
The new programme for children in Year 3 is now well underway, with information kept up to date on the First Communion page of this website. We would now ask that unless there is a very strong reason making you unable to do so, (such as you or your child is self-isolating), all our First Communion children should now be at Mass in person every week.
The new programme with children in Year 8 upwards is now underway. Please see the Confirmation page for further information.
Adult Baptisms/Receptions at the Easter Vigil
Our new RCIA Group is now well underway Any new applicants are invited contact the Parish Office - a new group will start around October time but, in the meantime, do please come along to Mass and make yourself known!
Weddings can now take place again, with numbers increased to "church capacity".
Visiting the Sick
We have now restarted visits to the sick and housebound by Eucharistic Ministers, and Fr Martin can bring out the Sacrament of the Sick when needed. If you or someone you know would like a visit with Holy Communion or the Sacrament of the Sick, please contact the Parish Office. (Sadly we are not yet in a position routinely to visit nursing homes). Anointing in hospitals etc can be offered under the strict guidance of the staff there, and in accordance with their policies, (but hospital chaplains, having suitable PPE provision, should be able to attend even if families are kept away. Please ask on the ward, or contact the hospital chaplaincy). Please be assured that whilst you may be prevented from receiving the Sacraments, God's blessings are never denied to those who ask with a sincere heart.
Funerals have now fully resumed in our churches. Many people have been prevented from having the funeral services for their loved ones which they would have wished, and we will gladly offer Memorial Services for those who wish.
Please be vigilant on behalf of neighbours and anyone you know who might feel vulnerable or afraid.
Please pray for all your fellow parishioners, and indeed for everyone affected by this crisis. Please pray for governments that we may all received the best possible guidance. And please pray for our healthcare workers who are working under such great pressure at this time. And remember that many of our own parishioners are healthcare workers too.
A thought to share
Someone sent this short, and prophetic, quote to Bishop John earlier in the pandemic, and he shared it with all the clergy, from a work of C.S. Lewis, written in 1942:
“Satan: ‘I will cause anxiety, fear and panic. I will shut down business, schools, places of worship, and sports events. I will cause economic turmoil’.
Jesus ‘I will bring together neighbours, restore the family unit, I will bring dinner back to the kitchen table. I will help people slow down their lives and appreciate what really matters. I will teach my children to rely on me and not the world. I will teach my children to trust me and not their money and material resources’”
And finally, let us pray:
come to the help of your people.
Be our shelter in this time of peril
and strengthen the bonds of our community.
Bring healing to all who suffer
the ravages of disease
and assist those whose skill and art
can put an end to this affliction.
Through Christ our Lord.
Stay with us, Lord, on our journey.
May God bless you all.