Dear Friends,

The Bishops of England and Wales have this morning made the following announcement:

“In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, so many aspects of our lives must change. This includes the ways in which we publicly express our faith. It’s very clear that, following official advice and in order to keep each other safe, save lives and support the NHS, at this time we must not gather together for public acts of worship in our churches. This will begin from Friday evening, 20 March until further notice.

Although we won’t be gathering for public acts of worship, our churches will remain open. They are not closing. They will be a focal point of prayer, where you will find solace and strength. In visiting our churches at this time, we will observe with great care the practices of hygiene and the guidance on social distancing. However, celebration of Mass, Sunday by Sunday and day by day, will take place without a public congregation.”

What does this mean for Our Lady and St Peter, and St. Bernards?

Firstly, we must remember that the regular celebration of the Mass has not ceased. For as long as I can get into our churches, I will offer the Mass on your behalf.

Secondly, I will be making more use of the website, writing meditations on the scriptures and so on.

Finally, Our Lady & St. Peter will be open for private prayer from about 9 am daily until noon. Feel free to come in and pray but please remain at least two meters from other people and push the door open with an arm instead of touching the handles. (Sadly, due to building work Our Lady & St. Peter will have to be closed from 23rd to 27th of March.)

The sacrament of reconciliation (confession) will continue to be offered at the usual times. The current situation is worrying. This is perfectly understandable but remember this phase is temporary, and only being imposed for the safeguarding of all. We must ensure the NHS is not too overwhelmed and that is what this is all about. One day things will go back to normal with the vast majority just experiencing a nasty touch of the ‘flu. We do need to maintain common sense.

And always pray, and be kind, and think of our neighbour. Remember a friendly phone call can do so much good.

God Bless,

Fr Jack

Dispensation from Easter Duties

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