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Arrangements for Opening the Church for Private Prayer

In the coming week we will be open for private prayer on Monday 29 June 11:00am–12:30pm and Thursday 2 July 6:00pm–7:30pm. The time gap between the sessions is longer than 72 hours which is usually regarded as the longest time the virus can live on hard surfaces. When Masses begin in July we will not be able to maintain that time gap but cleaning and good practice by all of us will be the key to safety.

We have 48 places available in the church when the 2-metre distance is taken into account. Two people sharing a home will count as one place; three to six people sharing will count as two places. We are not allowed to exceed the maximum number of places. We do not have permission to open the church hall for gatherings at this juncture.

Parish members who have volunteered will act as stewards. Others have volunteered as cleaners. There are also people doing other tasks to help with the preparation.

The following will need to be kept in mind if you are visiting the church:

  • There will be separate entrance and exit doors which will be indicated.
  • Everyone entering and leaving the church must clean their hands with the sanitiser provided.
  • Masks are not required except for stewards, but you may wear your own mask if you wish.
  • Social distancing of 2 metres must be maintained at all times.
  • Toilets have to be kept locked and out of use.
  • Nothing should be touched in church. Votive candles will not be available to light.
  • Please do not leave any papers or books in church and do not leave any literature for others to have.
  • We have pedal bins for rubbish. Please do not open a bin by handling the lid. The pedal is not immediately obvious but it is there and should be operated with your foot.

The Blessed Sacrament will be exposed for Adoration throughout the sessions. It will be placed on the altar before the doors are opened and reposed after the church is closed. No publicly led prayers are permitted as per the conditions of the government for this phase.

Silence should be maintained in church and outside the church as doors have to be left open to facilitate the circulation of fresh air. It is only natural that people will want to greet each other warmly when they meet. To maintain a silent prayerful atmosphere please use the area outside the hall to meet, greet and chat, always keeping the 2-metre social distance rule.

Confessions are not currently permitted in church but Fr Peter is willing to hear Confessions in the church grounds by request and with the 2-metre distance.

There is no restriction on people from vulnerable categories coming to visit the church to pray, so there is no upper age limit. However, young people under 16 years and children should be accompanied by an adult. It is not encouraged to bring small children who like to move around and touch various surfaces. If you do bring children make sure they are protected and stay beside you in the seat at all times.

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