Information Update

Thank you to those who joined us online for the Q&A session on Wednesday morning. Here is a summary of the information.

Thank you everyone!

Thank you all for your patience in the current situation, and for all the kind messages and cards we have received in support of our work. Thank you also for being so great at looking out for each other, especially the most vulnerable or isolated. We also want to thank you for your continued financial support of the parish. We appreciate everything that you are doing. Most of all, keep praying!

When will the church reopen?

We don’t know the date for this yet, but the date for step 3 in easing restrictions is currently 4th July. When the church does reopen, it will be for private prayer only. Before we can do this we must wait for the permission from the Government taskforce. We are disappointed that the Government hasn’t been more forthcoming with this yet. Even when the permission comes, we will only open when we are ready and it is safe to do so. We are completing a risk assessment and putting other health and safety measures in place. We are recruiting volunteers who will be happy to supervise and clean the church for opening times. Volunteers must be under 70 and without other health concerns. You can email us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

When the church is opened for private prayer, it will be for limited hours only and all visitors are asked to observe social distancing. There won’t be any liturgies or Masses, and you will be asked not to gather in groups for prayer or socialising. If you’re very elderly or have health conditions, it would be wise to remain shielded at home. We will explain more about the precise procedures when the time comes.

What about public Masses?

We do not have guidance about this yet. For now, we are working to ensure we are ready to open safely for private prayer.

What about the Masses online?

We’ve been really fortunate in our parish to have the Church Services TV system which has been a great platform for live-streaming our celebrations and a life-line for so many. We’re also fortunate to have our telephone Mass which is available to those who do not have internet. There is still some more capacity on the phone system. If you or someone you know would like to hear Mass on Saturday evenings on the landline, please let us know. There is no charge to the individuals. When the church reopens for private prayer, we will continue to live-stream our Masses – the church will need to be closed during these Masses, and then reopen at other times when there are no liturgies taking place. You can also see Mass on satellite TV if you have Sky or similar packages. The channel is called EWTN. On Sunday 14 June at 8.10am Mass will be live on BBC Radio 4 from Westminster Cathedral, celebrated by the Cardinal.

What have we been doing?

During the lockdown we have been busy in the parish. We have the church, office and grounds to take care of; we celebrate the Masses and other liturgies; we have been meeting and communicating with the deanery and diocese through a variety of media and online meetings; we are preparing the necessary measures for reopening the church; we’ve been keeping in touch with people and helping out some who needed assistance; we our school governors and chaplains to schools, and Fr David is the diocesan coordinator for chaplaincies in the education service. We also helped to take care of another parish in the deanery for a fortnight while their priests were in isolation. Sadly, we have had to visit those who needed the sacrament of the anointing of the sick or other rites, and of course we have been celebrating many funerals and working with the families of the faithful departed. After the lockdown we hope to hold some memorial Masses for those who have died during this time.

What about the Parish Office and the Parish Centre/Hall?

The Parish Office is being manned by the priests when we can. Hopefully, we should be able to restore some normality to the office in due course. However, you will still be asked to contact us by phone or email – it will not be possible to come in person to the office for some time yet. At the time of writing, the taskforce is concentrating on places of worship. We have yet to hear about our other facilities. For now, the Parish Centre is closed. Group leaders and hall users should wait to hear from us before planning any activities or returning to the premises. Please remember that the presbytery is also our home and it can be difficult when people ring the doorbell and wonder why they can’t come in!

What about Fr Johnson and Deacon David?

As you know, Fr Johnson was in India just before the lockdown came into force and he has stayed there for the time being. He is well and we’re looking forward to seeing him again. Deacon David went back to the seminary originally and is continuing to prepare for his ordination. Unfortunately, of course, the ordinations were postponed but he is looking forward to being ordained in September. Let us keep him in our prayers as he prepares for this big step. There are three men to be ordained priests, and three more seminarians to be ordained deacons.

First Holy Communion and Confirmation.

These were all cancelled due to the closure of churches. However, we haven’t forgotten about you! FHC and Confirmation for the 2020 children will be rearranged in due course so that they can be celebrated in a dignified, joyful and safe way. However, there are several other pieces of the puzzle that need to be put in place before we reach that stage. Registration for the 2021 cohorts will be postponed until we can reframe the catechetical programmes in such a way that all can participate safely. More information in due course.

We miss you all but look forward to seeing you in the not-too-distant future!