News from the Parish SSVP Conference

Society of St. Vincent De Paul (June)… Although the Church has been in lockdown the Society members, where possible, have been helping those in need while observing the restrictions. I would like to thank all parishioners and members for their continuing contributions of food for the local food bank. I would also thank those parishioners who have been donating money for this purpose. All of this is very much appreciated. Each week two members have been using these funds to purchase items which are in short supply at the food bank. While St. Vincent de Paul would normally be supplying food directly, during these exceptional times when visits to homes and to those in need are difficult we have felt that one way we can continue our charitable work is through donations of food to the food bank. Hopefully, as we go through the phases coming out of lockdown we will be able to undertake this work ourselves. However, this does not mean that we cannot help those in need, if anyone is aware of parishioners or others who are in need please feel free to contact us either thorough the church or via a member of SSVP directly.

Yet again the generosity of parishioners has been wonderful and we have received a substantial amount of money in donations, much of which has been given specifically for the purpose of providing groceries. Therefore I cannot thank you enough, as I also in fact thank all of the brothers and sisters in the parish Conference for their ongoing prayers and support. I would especially like to recognise Geraldine and Wilma for their work in doing the shopping and collecting the items left at the church and delivering these to the food bank, and Ann who has arranged for collection of food in and around Glenlomond: to date they have contributed over 40 bags of food, toiletries etc., which have been passed on, and, of course Sid has also been most helpful in co-ordinating the effort in terms of ascertaining what is needed each week. The need has varied from extra supplies of meals, tinned pies, and tinned vegetables, to other weeks where it is something as simple as fruit juice and cordials.

As some of you may have seen Broke Not Broken thanked the parishioners of St. James’ and St. Matthew’s in the June edition of the Kinross Community Newsletter.

Another area which has been brought to our attention for the future, perhaps: need for school uniforms for some families who have been furloughed and therefore may be living on significantly reduced income. We will of course look at these cases as they arise as well as looking to contact schools in case they have a bulk deal? This has yet to be discussed as to how to progress this if the need arises.

I would also encourage members and parishioners who are able to try and make it to private prayer at St. James’ and St. Matthew’s which takes place before the Blessed Sacrament. Details of times and the booking system can be found on the parish website. Due to the arrangements reached by the Conference of Scottish Bishops and the guidelines from the diocese in line with advice from the Scottish Government on social distancing, places are severely limited with currently St. Matthew’s having 14 places and St. James’ 6 spaces. Masks must be worn at all times and parishioners need to provide their own. Places must be booked in advance through contact with Father Martin directly. Many thanks to you all.

God bless you all,

Bob Corrieri, President, St. James’ and St. Matthew’s SSVP Conference

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

A message from the parish Society of St. Vincent de Paul

While we are in lockdown it does not mean that the SSVP is inactive. In fact we have been helping the needy in the most practical way we can while observing the rules that are currently in place. As we are all aware the works of Corporal Mercy lie at the heart of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul; to feed the hungry, to shelter the homeless , to give drink to the thirsty, to clothe the naked, to visit the sick, to visit the imprisoned, or ransom the captive, to bury the dead. While we may be unable, because of restriction, to cover all of these works it does not mean that St. James’ and St. Matthew’s have been inactive. It was brought to our attention that Broke not Broken had received a significant increase in requests from those who now find themselves in need. From supplying food and help to a few families a week the number needing help has increased significantly, at the same time the supply of donations have also dropped significantly. Churches and other collection points have been inaccessible as collection points and donations had dropped. I spoke with Father Martin and we have now arranged for items to be left at St. James’ Church hall. As per normal the parishioners have been exceedingly generous in their response. To date we have arrange for around 20-30 bags of groceries that have been donated to go to Broke not Broken. Some of the parishioners who have not been able to get out have contacted us and given cash donations specifically for this purpose. For this we are exceedingly grateful and we have used this money after liaising with Broke not Broken to purchase items of which they are in specific need but have not received via donations. This has involved members of the Society doing the shopping for these items, collecting the goods from the Church and delivering them to Broke not Broken. Under the present circumstances this is the least we can do and it fits with the ethos of the Society and the Works of Corporal Mercy, to Feed the Hungry. While normally we would have received contact directly from people and provide help ourselves those requests have not occurred as yet. Therefore it was felt that if we can support the needy in this way it is the right and proper thing to do. When we get back to normal, things will no doubt change back to what they were in the past but under the current circumstances we felt it was only right to offer practical material support so that those in need can receive help. I have to thank everyone for their generosity both materially and finacially. We are also well aware that a significant amount of goods have come from St Matthew’s and have notified Broke not Broken of this and asked that they look favourably of requests from the landward areas of the parish. While we are unable because of restrictions to carry out a lot of the normal visits of the Society there are things that we are doing. One important area is in Masses for those who have died during Lockdown. With normal requiem Masses not taking place we are ensuring that we have Masses said for every soul who dies during this time. They are all in our prayers. Again I cannot thank you enough for all your help and generosity especially in these times when we ourselves may be finding it difficult. Thank You All. Bob Corrieri, President of SSVP St James’ and St Matthews

Scam Warning

Dear parishioners, God bless you, I hope you are keeping holy and healthy!

I’ve had a call this morning warning that some parishioners seem to have been sent an e-mail by me requesting funds to help a seminarian, or for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. I have not sent any such emails, please ignore them, this is part of a scam, please beware. Do not open the email, do not respond.

Thank you to the parishioner who informed me of this.

Please also remember that my landline is still out of action and that should you need to call me do so on my mobile number (07540534480)