Dear parishioners, as you will be aware from the 8.30p.m. statement given by the Prime Minister this evening the situation in the country has now changed dramatically. Up to this point we have been able to keep the churches open for private prayer, for Confession, and for the distribution of Holy Communion, but this is now no longer the case. Whilst awaiting a formal statement from the diocese following on from the Prime Minister’s words (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXj_itbwKro), it is now clear that all places of worship will be shut to the public, and overall movement will be greatly restricted. This is sad, but it would seem necessary for the safeguarding of public health.
I will continue to celebrate Holy Mass privately, as will all our priests, and I will do this at the customary times should you care to unite yourselves spiritually with the sacrifice of the Mass being offered, despite the inability to be physically present.
The Prime Minister has made clear that baptisms and marriages will not be celebrated for the foreseeable future (at least the next three weeks), and sadly while funerals will still take place only a private Mass will be offered by the priest himself alone in church, his public function being restricted to the service of committal at either the graveside or the crematorium (it is envisaged that when the situation improves a Memorial Mass can be offered for the deceased and for the consolation of the bereaved).
I pray that the Lord will pour out an abundance of graces on you all, filling you with His peace and His love, and the tenderness of His embrace. I pray that He will strengthen your faith and trust in Him, and draw you more deeply into the recesses of His Sacred Heart. Take courage and be emboldened in these times knowing that the Lord has not left us orphans but that He is God-with-us, Emmanuel.
Pray, please, as the Holy Father has asked us, for an end to this pandemic and that God’s holy will be done in this situation, pray for the sick and suffering, the deceased, and for all the bereaved who will struggle at this time… and remember that I am only a phone call away if you need to speak, or if you would like to pray together.
God bless you and keep you, and Our Lady protect you,