My dear parishioners, these times are hard for many reasons, not least the concerns that people have over their health and the health of their loved ones, and there are many added pressures on us all – for many the struggle of staying in employment and keeping a roof over their head when things are so unpredictable.
The parish, as you will appreciate, draws its income solely from parishioners and, indeed, contributes to the financial support of the diocese as a whole (15% of our collection income being levied to the diocese).
In these times when public Mass is prohibited it is inevitable that our income from the weekly collection plate dries up, since we have no opportunity to have a physical collection at Holy Mass on Sunday. Many of you have been kind enough to continue giving (according to your own personal circumstances) either by setting up a payment from your own bank account to the parish account or by simply popping an envelope through the door of the chapel house with your offering in it. I am very grateful for this generosity as we depend entirely on these contributions to keep the parish buoyant and to pay our bills just like any other household. So thank you for doing this – it means that we can keep going in these difficult times.
If, so far, you have been unable to make payments through the bank or by handing in an envelope I would encourage you to think about doing so as it is such a vital means of supporting your parish. Even though Masses are not celebrated publicly we are still heating both St. Matthew’s and St. James’ churches (especially in this very cold weather) and there are household expenses for utilities etc. to be met. Please contact me on Fr.MartinPletts@gmail.com if you would like the details of the parish bank account in order to set up a direct payment.
All this said, I return to an earlier point… I am aware that for many people this time is putting the same demands on their own income, and many people are struggling, should this be the case do not hesitate to contact me if you think the parish might be able to help. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul has done sterling work even during these testing times and is here to offer material assistance to those who are finding times hard. Do not be hesitant to ask for help if you require it – I assure you that this can be offered in a confidential and discreet manner.
God bless you and reward you for your kindness and generosity and for your commitment to supporting your parish,
Fr. Martin Pletts