Lifting of Restrictions in Church
 

We have now received the latest information from the Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales regarding the next steps of lifting restrictions. On considering the new guidance, clearly vigilance and caution remain key. 
 
The Obligation to attend Sunday Mass (every Catholic will be obliged to attend Sunday Mass) will be reinstated officially on the 1st Sunday of Advent.
 
Please, for the well-being of those around us, and because of the high level of cases in the North West, could we continue to wear face masks. 
 
The Roman Missal books will now be in use again.
 
Hand sanitizer will continue to be available at the entrance of both churches.
 
Altar Servers can begin to return to their ministry from the weekend of the 31st July!! (Welcome back!!)
 
Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion are currently not needed during Mass, as Bishop John suggests limited and controlled movement for Holy Communion should continue in the interim.
 
The offertory collection can return on Sundays from weekend on the 31 July. Baskets will still be left at the entrance and exits and payments can be made via the Diocese or by setting up a standing order as alternative methods to support the parish. 
 
Social distancing can be relaxed but clearly some people will remain anxious, hence: - we will monitor the attendance at St John’s before deciding whether to remove the roping off of benches. At St Brendan’s (due to the smaller capacity) we will remove some ropes down one side of the church. 
 
No Holy Water will be available yet in the stoops. People may freely move around and light candles if you desire to.
 
Holy Communion will continue to be distributed under one kind, and I will continue to wear a mask but for some time now the Church has allowed the priest to proclaim ‘The Body of Christ’ and the people can now reply “Amen” again individually. 
 
Communal singing is difficult, as although it can now be reintroduced, we are in an area that is seeing a rapid increase in the virus spread. Therefore, although the music groups, when possible, can continue to provide music, full congregational singing will not return just yet.
 
Home Visits To Housebound: We can now visit and take the Blessed Sacrament to the housebound. Please could Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion contact Fr Alf to indicate if they are happy to resume this ministry from the weekend of the 31st July. 
 
Above all, we will continue to be considerate of others. Some of our people will be very anxious at any sudden return to normality. We can be patient and caring towards each other as we take this next step forward. Thank you.
 
Finally, a little message from Bishop John:
Bishop John “is urging all adults, who are able to do so, to be vaccinated. Pope Francis has reminded people of the duty to be vaccinated if they are able. The Church is clear that all Catholics can take any of the vaccines on offer with a clear conscience. Even if you are at a low risk of becoming seriously ill, being vaccinated will lower the risk of transmitting the virus to somebody else who might then have a severe reaction or even die. It is particularly important that those in our parishes, clergy and lay-people who visit those who are housebound or otherwise vulnerable are vaccinated.”

With every blessing Fr Alf