The current limitation on 10 congregants – and associated distancing, registration and hygiene requirements, etc - makes for difficult decisions about who can physically attend Mass, and when.
To address this, we have been dedicating the Vigil Mass to various parish ministries (Mother’s Day earlier this month, Laudato Si last weekend, Youth this weekend, Jesuit Mission the following).
We are now developing protocols for opening up physical participation at the weekday Mass. Rather reluctantly; the Parish will utilize the try booking system for registration purposes. Registration will open on Monday 25 May, for the following week Masses. From Mon 1st June, weekday (MoD) Masses will return to the regular time of 7.30am.
Spatial distancing (at least 1.5m from each other) and hygiene directions must be observed: attendees are exhorted to take care when coughing or sneezing and to avail themselves of hand sanitizer available.
Spacing spots have been placed on the pews at SFX. Distribution of Communion follows distancing procedure.
The archdiocese is eager that our churches be available for private prayer. The easing of restrictions allows for this under certain conditions. We plan to open St Mary’s from 12 noon to 1.00 pm from this Thursday, 21 May, on weekdays. Because we have to monitor numbers, 10 at the most at any one time, and to ensure the repeated cleanliness of places people have visited, the entry and exit will be through the Ridge St entrance, visitors are asked to use the Our Lady of the Way side-chapel, and are also obliged to leave their contact details in a book that will be on a stand where the main aisle crosses the axis from Ridge St.
The restriction to ten people makes it very difficult to open our daily Mass on Demand to a congregation. We sense that parishioners and others are happy with the online Mass, despite occasional technical issues. As we know, people are missing receiving the eucharist with real pain; but let us remember the Good Lord comes to us in many ways, especially through the Word of God, and through the needs of our neighbours; either way, we touch him, and his woundedness, through our prayers.
Fr Andy Bullen SJ, PP
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