Fr Peter has made the following announcement this weekend.
Stage 4. The day of lifting of the Covid regulations, Monday 19th July, is almost upon us. Sadly, due to the persistent nature of the Delta variant, it lacks
much sense of relief let alone celebration although the vaccine gives us a well founded hope. Some of the rules we now observe under force of law will on the
whole become a recommended and voluntary way of living.
I have received the Stage 4 guidelines for parishes from the Catholic Bishops of England. These are produced in collaboration with the other faith groups
as well as the relevant government agencies.
The obligation for Catholics to attend Sunday Mass (or Sat vigil) remains suspended until Advent of this year.
- Distancing will no longer be a requirement by law. For those who feel they need some space around them at weekend Masses it is suggested that they
have a visible notice either side of them indicating that they need a space around them. We can make notices available in the porch. ‘Around them’ means
beside, behind and in front.
We will listen to the experience of our parishioners and make adjustments where necessary.
- For weekday Masses we will continue to use the seats with the green ‘sit here’ labels. This will help the cleaners as it means they will not have to clean the
whole bench. Retaining distancing at all weekday Masses will also ensure a guaranteed ‘distanced place’ for those who needs that reassurance.
- Masks will be recommended and expected despite the fact that they will no longer have the force of law.
- Track & trace must continue. This is mandated by the government. Here at St Aidan’s we will continue to offer:
- Bringing your name and a contact detail on a piece of paper and placing it in a red tray;
- Registering on our T&T facility on our website;
- Using the QR code facility which will soon be provided at our church.
- Sanitising of hands should continue to be facilitated with bottles of sanitiser available as before.
- Cleaning of benches and touch points should continue after Masses.
- Ventilation of buildings continues to be essential.
- Communal singing may resume. People are asked to keep masks on when they sing.
Here at St Aidan’s I think we should leave this change until September when we can discuss the way forward with choir leaders and those involved with liturgical music.
- Stewarding: the Bishops’ guidance states that stewarding need not continue but that welcoming should. My view is that if welcoming and cleaning should continue, we still need our stewards. Also for a transition period people will need help when they arrive at Mass regarding what they should or shouldn’t do. We will therefore be asking the stewards to continue their much valued work at church.
- Special Ministers who wish to do so may resume duties. We will stick to the current rota for now until Leonie Wilding reviews it for the next rota.
- Servers may also return but we will not be in a position to organise it formally until after the school break.
- The chalice will not be offered at Mass for the foreseeable future.
The school holiday period is never a good time to have parish meetings or groups. The Parish Council will discuss all the implications of Stage 4 for our parish when they meet in September. By then we will have had a transition period and should be in a position to address any problems that arise and plan with confidence for the future.