On Friday 16th July, the Bishops of England and Wales issued guidance for churches pursuant of the easing of restrictions that the Government will sanction from Monday 19th July. Our Bishop followed this guidance with his own instructions. While the Bishops’ Conference and our own Bishop welcome the gradual easing, they remain very concerned and are instructing all of us to be very cautious.
In light of what the Bishops say and after consulting a good number of parishioners, I have decided the following for St Joseph’s, Reddish.
These three things are more important for us than ever because from July 19th
Because you will no longer be guided by Stewards it is important that people take their seats in a sensible way—that those arriving first, sit near the wall, that people do not crowd together—for instance at the back of the church—and that people keep a distance from those outside their own bubble.
Because the benches and church will not be cleaned after every Mass it is very important that each person cleans their hands when coming into church and when leaving.
Because we will no longer all exit through the side (Bolton St) door it is most important that you practice social distancing especially as you leave the church.
Finally, if in order to remain safe you still want to exit the church immediately after receiving Holy Communion you may.
Over the coming weeks some of our usual practices will gradually return at Mass. From July 19th and dependent on the number of returning volunteers I hope to resume:
At this time we will NOT be returning to the following practices:
The first three, obviously, increase the risk of infection considerably. Before we return to the distribution of Holy Communion by Ministers, I would like to see a practice of people receiving Holy Communion slowly, reverently and safely. Over the preceding months some practices have been adopted by necessity—most important for me at this time is that we return to our usual practice of receiving our Lord’s Body and Blood with reverence and devotion.