Times for Private Prayer – update

Thank you to all who are helping us to open our churches at the moment for private prayer before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament – your assistance is greatly appreciated!

Understandably, perhaps because people are still somewhat hesitant, the up-take for times for private prayer has been rather slow this week. Taking people’s hesitancy into consideration and also the fact that preparation and cleaning afterwards requires so much of volunteers I have, in the light of the lack of response, decided not to open the churches this week beyond Wednesday 1st July. Therefore, the churches will remain closed on Thursday, Friday and Saturday of this week (2nd, 3rd, 4th of July respectively). I think it would be remiss of me to ask volunteers to come to clean and to be stewards when no one had signed-up for those days, although there has been ample opportunity to do so.

We shall re-open again on Sunday 5th July with time for prayer for 14 people in St. Matthew’s from 10.00-11.00a.m. and for 6 people in St. James’ from 2.00-3.00p.m. These times will need to be booked through me directly, either by phone, text message or e-mail, and confirmation will be given by me as to whether a place is available or not for the day and the time. I am afraid that for the moment this is something that will need to be done every week, as I wish to give everyone a fair opportunity to be able to come to visit the churches at some point. I would advise you not to hesitate in making such a booking as places are very limited. I remind you, too, that for the time being you will need to bring and to wear your own face-covering. Booking is important as we need to know who is in the church at any given time for the sake of track and trace if there is ever a problem with the virus. I assure you, however, that the churches are being cleaned meticulously and that you should have every confidence that the church building is a very safe place to be because of this.

The times for private prayer for the following week are as follows:

Sunday 5th July – St. Matthew’s 10.00-11.00a.m. (14 places available)

Sunday 5th July – St. James’ 2.00-3.00p.m. (6 places available)

Wednesday 8th July – St. James’ 10.00-11.00a.m. (6 places available)

Thursday 9th July – St. James’ 2.00-3.00p.m. (6 places available)

Friday 10th July – St. James’ 7.00-8.00p.m. (6 places available)

Beyond these dates and times no further bookings will be taken for the moment.

God bless you and keep you, Fr. Martin

A gentle reminder…

Charity is key to our Christian vocation, as we know. Recently I have posted available times for individual prayer in the churches in Kinross and Auchtermuchty and have had a moderate uptake – I would encourage you, strongly,¬†to come and to pray in the Presence of Our Eucharistic Lord. This is far more important, provided you are well enough, than watching Mass on TV, because here you will actually be with the Lord Jesus rather than being a mere spectator, and by watching Mass on TV we are not fulfilling our obligation anyway – the obligation from which we are also¬†currently dispensed. Out of charity, and concern for those who are eager to come and be with Jesus truly present in the Blessed Sacrament, please, if you book a place, have the courtesy to turn up, booking a place and not turning up or not giving advance warning of your inability to turn up (unless of course there has been an emergency) means that someone else will be deprived of the precious opportunity to be in the Lord’s Real Presence. God bless you, and I hope that you make the most of these precious opportunities that we now have, Fr. Martin

Please read the previous post for a list of the times available this coming week for private prayer. I encourage you to book as soon as possible as we are depending upon volunteers to steward those coming in for prayer and also to sanitize the premises once they have been used – and I do not wish to put these kind and generous people under undue pressure when they may also have other personal arrangements to consider.

Booking Times for Private Prayer & Confession Monday 29th June to Sunday 5th July inclusive…

Below are the times available for private prayer in St. James’ & St. Matthew’s from Monday 29th June until Sunday 5th July (inclusive), there will also be opportunity for Confession (in St. James’ church hall on Wednesday 1st July from 1.00p.m. to 1.45p.m. – this does not need to be booked, please just turn up).

Private Prayer:

Monday 29th 10.00a.m. to 11.00a.m. in St. James’

Tuesday 30th 7.00p.m. to 8.00p.m. in St. James’

Wednesday 1st July 2.00p.m. to 3.00p.m. in St. James’

Thursday 2nd July 10.00a.m. to 11.00a.m. in St. James’

Friday 3rd July 7.00p.m. to 8.00p.m. in St. James’

Saturday 4th July 11.00a.m. to 12 noon in St. James’

Sunday 5th July 10.00a.m. to 11.00a.m. in St. Matthew’s and 2.00p.m. to 3.00p.m. in St. James’

The current capacity in St. James’ is 6 people and in St. Matthew’s it is 14 people, all attending for private prayer are required to being their own face covering to wear whilst in the church. Toilets will only be accessible in case of emergency. Please apply for a time by either e-mailing me on Fr.MartinPletts@gmail.com or texting me on 07540534480 or leaving a message on the answering machine on 01577 863329. I will confirm with you when you have a place. You may arrive or leave anytime between the times stipulated, but may not stay beyond the final time indicated as the churches will need to be cleaned after every session. You should not be congregating inside or outside of the church to talk and must leave the building and the property and maintain social distancing. More times and or greater capacity may be available in future should distancing regulations change. You will be required to sit in a seat allocated to you.

Thank you for your patience and co-operation, God bless you, Fr. Martin

Booking Times for Private Prayer – Sunday 28th June

Next Sunday, 28th June, St. Matthew’s and St. James’ will be open for private prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. St. Matthew’s will be open for 14 people from 10.00 to 11.00a.m. and St. James’ will be open for 6 people from 2.00 to 3.00p.m. To book one of those places contact me either by e-mail on Fr.MartinPletts@gmail.com or by text message on 07540534480. I will need to be able to get back in touch with you to confirm if you have secured a place. Please pass on the word to those who do not have internet access. Those who are unable to send text messages or emails can phone 01577 863329 leaving a clear message with their name and contact number. I am sorry that this seems so formal and regulated at the moment, but hopefully things will progress quickly and get back to normal soon. God bless you all, Fr. Martin

Dear parishioners…

Dear parishioners, it is likely that we will soon be moving to a point where our churches can re-open albeit only for private prayer. This, as I have said earlier, is long-awaited. We have had to get used to many changes in the way we operate from day-to-day given the social restrictions that have been placed upon us, and it is inevitable that such changes will also touch the life of the Church and the way in which we are able to worship at the moment. We may agree or disagree with such changes, we may find reassurance and a sense of security in them, or we may find them difficult to accept and dislike them – I am sure that there are many more feelings, opinions, in this regard.

For the foreseeable future we will be asked to adhere to certain guidelines regarding sanitary precautions and numbers of those in attendance in the hope that everyone who enters the church building can feel assured, as much as is humanly possible, of their well-being. Some of this may seem odd and uncomfortable as we are used to freely associating with each other, and maintaining a warm, friendly and prayerful atmosphere. Sadly many measures seem very impersonal, unfriendly, and awkward (already a number of parishioners have expressed how alien the idea of “booking a time slot seems”, and this is completely understandable – dealing with this, however, will be part of the sacrifice that we will all have to make so that we can, at least, open our buildings for public use and maintain hygiene requirements. This is not exclusive to Church matters, I think we have all experienced the consequences of these new behaviours which are intended to limit exposure to Covid-19.

I ask, kindly, therefore, for your co-operation with the measures which we will be asked to implement even if they feel awkward and very much unlike what we were used to, and I would also ask that we treat such matters seriously but also recognizing that they have very much a secondary role in our faith lives – I would hate to think that in coming to church we would now just be thinking about hand-sanitizers and hygiene, rather than thinking about our love and worship of God and our love for our neighbour. We should feel at peace when we enter into the Lord’s House and nothing should take away from this.

I pray that God will bless you and yours abundantly and lead us all along the path of faithful discipleship, putting Him first in everything. With every prayer and good wish, Fr. Martin Pletts

A brief update

You may have already seen that there has been talk of the possibility of churches opening soon, which is good news for all of us, and long anticipated. Once we have definite instructions from the Diocese we will proceed with this, remembering that our own bishop governs what happens in his diocese, and even that circumstances may be different from parish to parish within the diocese given the age of the clergy, the style of building, and the make-up of the congregation. We have been instructed, quite clearly, that this is not a “one size fits all” approach, and therefore I would ask you to bear this in mind, as one parish or church may do things slightly differently to another, as may one diocese in comparison to another.

The initial stage, when we enter it will simply be one of opening our churches for private prayer, numbers will be limited, and sanitary precautions will be used, whilst not wanting, at the same time, to detract from the prayerfulness and peacefulness of the opportunity to pray before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. It will probably be the case that people will be required to “book” a slot for prayer, to wear a face covering, to sit in a designated place, and to use hand sanitiser on entry and exit – most of this is simply a common sense approach, as I have already stated. Once the situation becomes more transparent I will post information on this website and also on Facebook and I would ask you, please, to pass the information on to those who may not have access to the internet.

We will find that opening times will be varied, changeable, and probably not in accord with what were the previous times of Mass, this is to allow flexibility, to facilitate cleaning, and to be able to respond to need. I am certain that this will be a non-issue given the wonderful opportunity to at least be able to return to the church and prayer before Jesus in the Tabernacle. It may also mean, that more will happen in Auchtermuchty at St. Matthew’s, or more priority might be given to St. Matthew’s church because it is a much larger building with a greater seating capacity, and I would ask St. James’ parishioners to bear this in mind and to make use of that opportunity too.

I appreciate your prayerful support, good wishes and concern over this time, I appreciate the continued giving, financially, that has sustained the parish over this while, and I encourage you to continue to be supportive as, naturally, without Sunday Masses our average collection has declined somewhat – which is understandable given the extra pressure placed on all households. This is also why your support for our collections of food for “Broke not Broken” has been particularly heartening.

God bless you, and please keep watching this space for further updates,

In Christ, Fr. Martin Pletts