Pandemic Safety Procedures

Easing of Restrictions

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.

  • We will continue to sanitise when entering and leaving the church.
  • We will continue to wear face coverings inside the church.
  • We will continue to practice social distancing.

These three things are more important for us than ever because from July 19th

  • We will no longer be assisted by Stewards.
  • We will no longer clean the church and benches after each Mass.
  • We will no longer all exit through the side (Bolton St) door.

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.

Returning to Usual Practice

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:

  • Having Apparators at each Sunday Mass—to guide people as they arrive and to oversee the collection as they leave.
  • Having Readers at Weekday and Sunday Masses—to proclaim the Word of God. Please sanitise your hands before coming to the lectern and read from your Missalette where possible. It is not required that you wear a mask when reading.
  • Having some singing—to raise the dignity of our worship. If you can sing through a mask then please join in when we have singing.
  • Having the usual practice of Holy Communion and Dismissal—to allow people to receive as usual and return to their seats after Holy Communion for prayer and the final Blessing.

At this time we will NOT be returning to the following practices:

  • The Sign of Peace.
  • Holy Communion under both kinds.
  • Holy Communion on the tongue.
  • The distribution of Holy Communion by Extraordinary Ministers.

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.