Recent adaptations to the government restrictions concerning places of worship have caused me to reflect on our current approach to times and locations of Masses between Auchtermuchty and Kinross. Masses will be strictly limited to an attendance per church of twenty people at any given time from December 26th.
The average Mass going population in St. James’ throughout any weekend prior to the current health crisis was five or six times greater than that of St. Matthew’s. This was reflected in the fact that St. James’ had two Masses: a Vigil Mass and a morning Mass and St. Matthew’s had just the one Sunday morning Mass. Since lockdown, considering that St. Matthew’s has the greater physical capacity, I thought it prudent to encourage people to attend there by offering a Vigil Mass and a 9.00a.m. Mass on Sunday. Overwhelmingly attendance has been consistently better at the 3.00p.m. Saturday Vigil Mass in Auchtermuchty, though Mass attendances have still remained relatively poor.
Current restrictions mean that travel should not be taking place between Kinross and Auchtermuchty, in terms of people coming to Holy Mass (given that there is a church in their own area). Common sense dictates then that whilst St. Matthew’s could more than adequately deal with the current Mass attenders with one Mass only, St. James’ will struggle to offer adequate provision with only two Masses to the far greater numbers of people who seek to worship there.
Bearing all of this in mind I now feel it necessary and pastorally prudent to make the following changes to ensure that as many people as possible will have the opportunity to come to Holy Mass over the weekend. Therefore, for the foreseeable future, and subject to further change should circumstances merit it, Sunday Mass provision for St. James’ and St. Matthew’s will be as follows, and these changes will begin next weekend, the weekend of Saturday 2nd January and Sunday 3rd January 2021.
In St. Matthew’s there will now only be a 3.00p.m. Vigil Mass at the weekend (beginning Saturday 2nd January) and no longer a 9.00a.m. Sunday Mass.
In St. James’ there will now be a 9.00a.m. Sunday Mass (beginning Sunday 3rd January), an 11.00a.m. Sunday Mass, and a 3.00p.m. Sunday Mass.
Effectively this means that from the weekend of 2nd/3rd January 2021 Auchtermuchty will lose the 9.00a.m. Sunday Mass and St. James’ will gain a 9.00a.m. Sunday Mass.
I know that this is unfortunately a little more change for people, but it is necessary change in order to guarantee as much Mass provision for as many people as possible, and with flexibility and co-operation on our part this will hopefully cater better to the needs of all parishioners concerned.
Like you all, I look forward to a time when we can return to a normal pattern of worship and a normal way of living, and put behind us the added pressures of trying to navigate the current health crisis. Let me express, once again, my gratitude to all who have helped me in the two churches to ensure that we can have people back to Mass and do so in a way that safeguards the well-being of those in attendance.
With every prayer and blessing for this holy Christmas season, Fr. Martin Pletts