My dear parishioners, God bless you and keep you all! This is a very testing time for us all, yet at all times, and especially through moments of trial, we should be aware of the presence and power of the Lord with us. Our faith, trust, and hope in Jesus Christ who is our strength, our joy, and our salvation is our great consolation at this time.
We have seen on the media, many of us, that a decision has been made by the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland to suspend Holy Mass in public after Thursday 19th March 2020, while all priests will continue to say Holy Mass privately each day, remembering your intentions as always. Through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass we will continue to implore God for the graces we need, to offer atonement for our sins, and to seek the grace of enlightenment and courage to remain faithful to the Lord.
We must not think, for one moment, that as a Church we have now become paralysed. We continue to be a people of prayer, filled with the grace of God, and imbued with the Holy Ghost, but in a very real way our Lent has been greatly intensified and will, undoubtedly, be prolonged.
We have been encouraged to open our churches for prayer – and this I shall do, from Friday 20th March, ensuring that St. James’ be open Monday to Friday from 9.00a.m. to 11.00a.m., on Saturday from 5.00-7.00p.m., on Sunday from 9.00-11.00a.m., and in St. Matthew’s in Auchtermuchty on Sunday from 11.30a.m. to 1.30p.m. I will be present in the church throughout all of these times.
Respecting the call for “social distancing” and due hygiene precautions, I would encourage you to make the most of these opportunities for prayer before Our Lord Jesus Christ in the tabernacle. Even if you are unable to come, or have chosen to isolate yourself because of health concerns, I would encourage you to read the daily Mass readings which can be found on the internet through Universalis, to unite yourself with the Sacrifice of the Mass by watching broadcast Masses through EWTN or something similar, and by making a spiritual communion. Please also pray your Rosary daily, and unite yourselves with the Holy Mother of God, Help of Christians, Consoler of the Afflicted, Health of the Sick. I have been encouraged to know that some parishioners who have “self-isolated” are already praying the Rosary together via video link on WhatsApp (this, or something similar, could be done by many of us). Given that this is a formal decision on behalf of the Bishops we incur no sin, during these extraordinary circumstances, by not being able to come to Holy Mass on Sunday or holy days of obligation.
There will also remain the availability of the other Sacraments for those who require them: the Sacrament of Confession and the Anointing of the Sick and Holy Communion, and should anyone require counsel, or feel the need to speak, I am always available either in person or on the end of the phone.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul (staffed by parish volunteers) can also be contacted through me or through one of the members should individuals who have self-isolated, require food shopping, etc.
Let us all continue to trust in the Lord, to pray for each other, and to offer what practical and spiritual support we can to those in need.
I hope, also, that I might with some regularity, be able to offer reflections and spiritual nourishment through posts on this parish website, so please keep looking at this and please encourage other parishioners to do the same.
God bless you and keep you,
Fr. Martin Pletts