Good Friday – A day of fasting and abstinence…

What is required from us on days like today (Good Friday) in terms of fasting and abstinence?

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church: (“You shall observe the prescribed days of fasting and abstinence.”) ensures the times of ascesis and penance which prepare us for the liturgical feasts; they help us acquire mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart.

Church Law on Fasting and Abstinence

Fasting is listed as a precept of the Church: “You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church” (CCC 2043). This means that Catholics are under grave obligation to substantially observe these laws. Christians are required by divine law to do penance for their sins, penance is not optional.

The Church, as a caring mother, is providing us a specific means and season for completing acts of penance. Her goal is to see to it that her children attain eternal life. Her precept on fasting, then, is for our spiritual benefit. Catholics who intentionally neglect and/or reject all forms of penance violate divine law and thus would be guilty of grave sin. Grave sin committed with full knowledge and full consent is by definition mortal sin and thus places a soul in peril (CCC 1857).

Because the season of Lent is of penitential character, the Church sets forth the days of penance as Ash Wednesday and all Fridays during Lent. Catholics are obliged to both fast and abstain from flesh meat on Ash Wednesday and Friday of the Lord’s Passion and abstain from flesh meat on all other Fridays during Lent. These requirements are binding on Catholics of the following age ranges:

Latin Rite Catholics from age 18 up through to the beginning of their 60th year (their 59th birthday) are required to fast, unless they have a serious reason for not doing so. According to Pope Paul VI’s apostolic constitution Paenitemini, “The law of fasting allows only one full meal a day, but does not prohibit taking some food in the morning and evening, observing, as far as quantity and quality are concerned approved local custom.” (Paenitemini, ch. III., III., 2).

It’s often thought that a person can have one full meal and two “lesser meals” that cannot add up to a full meal. But Paenitemini doesn’t require us to weigh up food to make sure it doesn’t equate to a full meal. The point is, only one full meal is allowed, and one can take some food two other times on that day. Liquids such as juice, coffee, tea, or milk do not technically violate the fast, although refraining from ingesting any animal products such as milk is virtuous.

A reminder about booking Masses…

Please remember that the last day for booking Masses for the week of Monday 5th April to Sunday 11th April will be this Friday. No Mass bookings are being taken this evening (Thursday April 1st) since the Mass of the Lord’s Supper is celebrated this evening.

If you wish to book any of the remaining places for Mass for the week of Monday 5th April to Sunday 11th April for either St. Matthew’s or St. James’ you must call the parish landline: 01577 863329 tomorrow (Friday 2nd) between 7.00 – 8.30p.m. Booking every week for your places is unfortunately necessary. After this the booking opportunity for Masses from 5th to 11th April will close. I appreciate your co-operation with this.

So far there are still a good number of places available as bookings have been very slow this week.

God bless you, Fr. Martin

28/03/21 – Mass Bookings, etc. for Easter Week (5th – 11th April)

My dear parishioners, it’s been a great joy to welcome you back in such great numbers already for the celebration of Holy Mass and the Sacrament of Confession. Wonderful to see so many of you again!

Below you will find the timetable for Easter Week up to and including Divine Mercy Sunday. Please note that there is a slight difference to the times when one can book a place by phone, Holy Thursday evening being excluded of course, and an extra half hour of time given for booking opportunities on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings (i.e. 7.00-8.30p.m.). So far the booking system is working smoothly, although a few people have struggled to get through at times, so please have your ‘wishlist’ ready for the times you’d like to book as this will expedite the bookings and allow more people to get through. I will do as I have done this week and publicise (after the bookings have closed on Friday evening) any places that are still available, then you can call me, over the following days on the landline to take one of those places if they are suitable for you. My desire is that as many people as possible, and hopefully all of you, will manage to have access to Holy Mass at some point throughout the week even if everyone cannot be accommodated at the weekend.

Bookings:

Bookings will, for this period, only be taken by phone and must be made exclusively via the landline (01577 863329). Please do not leave a recorded message but only make your booking through direct conversation with me. Bookings will not be accepted by any other means, but you may feel free to book on behalf of others (with their consent) if they are unable to do so themselves. There will be set hours for making bookings and these will be Tuesday 30th & Wednesday 31st, and Friday 2nd from 7.00p.m.-8.30p.m. this week, given that on Holy Thursday I will have Mass during these hours. Please do not phone later than 8.30p.m. for bookings. Please also be aware that others may be trying to contact me at this time, so if you wish to speak to me about other pastoral/personal issues it would be fairer to others trying to book Mass to contact me at a time other than the one allocated for Mass bookings to speak about these things – thank you for your understanding.

The reason for my strictness with this is that I made several double-bookings or omitted bookings the last time these procedures were in place and I do not wish this to happen again for all of our sakes. I would also require that booking be essential, not optional, if you wish to attend Holy Mass, as I do not want to have to ask pass-keepers to turn people away because there is insufficient space to maintain the required social-distancing. All of these measures are necessary for everyone’s well-being and sense of ease whilst in church, not to speak of the smooth running of the booking process.

Numbers & Hygiene:

Numbers will be limited given the smallness of our churches, so that we will be talking only of a few more than 20 places, possibly, at each Mass or liturgical celebration. Hygiene protocols, which must be strictly adhered to, will return as they were previously. Parishioners without an official exemption will be expected to wear face masks… and I imagine that none of this will surprise you.

Timetable (05/04/21 to 11/04/21):

I will not be taking bookings until the evening of Tuesday 30th March (7.00p.m. – 8.30p.m. only) but you might already like to be thinking about when you hope to attend. Please neither be hesitant to book out of concern for preventing others coming , but also be sensitive to the fact that if one books several slots one may be making it difficult for others to attend even once – hopefully we can strike a happy balance.

I am proposing the following timetable from Monday 5th April until Sunday 11th April inclusive:

Monday 5th April – Holy Mass in St. James’, Kinross, at 7.00p.m.

Confessions in the church hall after the 7.00p.m. Mass

Tuesday 6th April – Holy Mass in St. James’, Kinross, at 7.00p.m.

Confessions in the church hall after the 7.00p.m. Mass

Wednesday 7th April – Holy Mass in St. James’, Kinross, at 10.00a.m.

Confessions in the church hall after the 10.00a.m. Mass

Thursday 8th April – Holy Mass in St. James’, Kinross, at 10.00a.m.

Confessions in the church hall after the 10.00a.m. Mass

Friday 9th April – Holy Mass in St. James’, Kinross, at 10.00a.m.

Confessions in the church hall after the 10.00a.m. Mass

Saturday 10th April (ANTICIPATED MASS OF DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY) – Holy Mass in St. Matthew’s, Auchtermuchty, at 3.00p.m.

Confessions in the sacristy after the 3.00p.m. Mass

Saturday 10th April (ANTICIPATED MASS OF DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY) – Holy Mass in St. James’, Kinross, at 5.00p.m.

Confessions in the church hall after the 5.00p.m. Mass

Sunday 11th April (DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY) – Holy Mass in St. James’, Kinross, at 9.00a.m.

Sunday 11th April (DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY) – Holy Mass in St. James’, Kinross, at 11.00a.m.

Sunday 11th April (DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY) – Holy Mass in St. James’, Kinross, at 1.00p.m.

Sunday 11th April – Divine Mercy Devotions with recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and an opportunity for Confession – in St. James’, Kinross, from 3.00-4.00p.m. Holy Communion will be distributed at the end of the devotions for those who have been unable to book a place for Holy Mass this weekend. I will be available to hear Confessions for as long as necessary, even after the 4.00p.m. conclusion of the devotions.

I look forward to the time when we no longer have to make bookings but can come along freely to Holy Mass as we once did. That time may be a distance off at the moment, so for the meantime I am very grateful for your co-operation and understanding. In so many ways we have learnt to accommodate ourselves to the necessary changes brought about by the current situation, whether it be a matter of how we do our shopping, how we interact with our families, etc. Our Church life has been affected in the same way, but this does not mean that we cannot, even with restrictions, have a fruitful and joyful faith-life. Oftentimes periods of struggle and difficulty have engendered great growth and flourishing in the faith lives of individuals and the Church as a whole. Let us pray that the Good Lord will bring spiritual growth and blessings through the struggles we have had to face together.

With every prayer and good wish,

Fr. Martin Pletts

A Pastoral Letter on the re-opening of our churches…

St. James’, Kinross & St. Matthew’s, Auchtermuchty

c/o 5 High Street, Kinross, KY13 8AW

Telephone: 01577 863329

Dear Parishioner,

I’m delighted to be able to welcome you back to Holy Mass and the public celebration of the Sacraments in our churches – it has been a long journey. We still aren’t at the point of a return to normality but I can only imagine that you share my joy at once again being able to gather together as a family of faith to worship the Lord fittingly in the Most Holy Eucharist.

For the present and for the foreseeable future the protocols we have adopted regarding hygiene and social-distancing remain. I thank you for your understanding and co-operation with this. We shall also be maintaining a booking system for places at Holy Mass to ensure fairness and equal opportunity of attendance. Booking details are posted on the parish website: http://www.catholickinross.com. If anyone does not have access to the internet to discover the times available for Masses I encourage you to speak to fellow parishioners who do, just as I encourage them also to assist you in making your bookings.

I hope that you and your loved ones have been keeping well over this period of time, but should you have suffered the loss of any of those nearest and dearest to you let me take this opportunity to offer you my sincere condolences and to assure you of my prayers.

As we move forward together I ask, please, for your continuing support and co-operation, together we will get through these strange times and together, with faith, please God, we will come out on the other side of this stronger and better people. Jesus Christ through His Passion, Death, and Resurrection enables us to see and to trust that even the darkest of times can be transformed into something hopeful and glorious. Such is our faith in Him.

Many have asked about supporting the parish financially (remembering that we depend solely upon your generous contributions to keep going. To this end I provide here our bank details, and encourage you (if you are able) to resume handing in your weekly offerings for the church. (one bank account for both churches – Roman Catholic Diocese of Dunkeld, Sort Code: 83-23-47, Account Number: 00255001). Cheques should be made payable to St. James’ Catholic Church (for both churches). Sincere thanks to those who have been able to continue to contribute while our churches have been closed, your support has enabled us to keep paying the bills and keep up the maintenance of our beautiful wee churches.

Should you find yourself in straitened circumstances and require material support please remember that the parish has a very active Society of St. Vincent de Paul which exists to provide material support in a confidential manner to those who require it. You can speak to me privately about it this kind of assistance if it would be of benefit to you at the present time.

Please, then, now look regularly at the parish website so as to be able to arrange your bookings for Mass and to begin again to establish a more regular and  steady pattern of worship than we have been able to in more recent times. (I suggest having a very quick look throughout the week).

I pray that you have a blessed Holy Week full of graces for you and yours, full of blessings, full of hope. May the peace and blessing of the Almighty God be with you always!

In Christ,

Fr. Martin Pletts

26/03/21 – Bookings for Holy Mass, etc. & places still available…

Bookings & places still available:

There are still places available for Holy Mass between now and Easter Sunday (inclusive) if you haven’t already booked your place. Tonight (Friday) is the last opportunity to book for these dates. Call the parish landline: 01577 863329 between 7.00p.m. and 8.00p.m. this evening to make your booking. The parish landline does not accept ‘blocked’ numbers, so if your number is blocked either phone from a mobile or ask someone whose number is not blocked to make the booking for you.

This morning (Friday 26th) there are 5 places still available for 10.00a.m. Mass if you would like to come along – please give your name and contact details at the door to the steward, please come at least 15 minutes before Holy Mass begins in order to help the smooth allocation of seats.

Sunday 28th (Kinross) 9.00a.m. – 6 places still available

Sunday 28th (Kinross) 1.00p.m. – 2 places still available

Monday 29th (Kinross) 7.00p.m. – 7 places still available

Tuesday 30th (Kinross) 10.00a.m. – 7 places still available

Wednesday 31st (Kinross) 10.00a.m. – 5 places still available

Sunday 4th April (Kinross) 1.00p.m. – 1 place still available

Sunday 4th April (Kinross) 3.00p.m. – 2 places still available

(each “place” can accommodate either one individual, or a couple in a ‘bubble,’ or even three from the same household/’bubble’)

Saturday 27th (Auchtermuchty) 3.00p.m. – 10 places still available

Sunday 4th (Auchtermuchty) 9.00a.m. – 9 places still available

Other than the places mentioned above all other Masses or liturgies are already fully booked (including Holy Thursday and Good Friday).

God bless you, Fr. Martin Pletts

20/03/21 – Updated notice of forthcoming Mass times, booking arrangements, and timetable for Easter…

My dear parishioners, I hope you’re all keeping the Faith and keeping well! You are all very much missed. Good news to know that all being equal we should be able to open up again from Friday 26th March for Holy Mass, and in preparation for the most sacred time in the Church’s calendar: Holy Week.

I want to share with you my thoughts about re-opening and the schedule up to and including Holy Week.

Thanks in advance:

I want to express my gratitude, in advance, to all those who will help us to re-open and all who have already done so much to ensure that our churches are hospitable, safe, and friendly environments in which to worship. I am extremely grateful to pass-keepers, cleaners, stewards, organisers, etc. for the hard work they have already put in and will once again put in, to enable us to function as we should – on your behalf and mine I express our indebtedness to them all.

I’d now like to speak to you about the practicalities of it all…

Bookings:

Bookings will, for this period, only be taken by phone and must be made exclusively via the landline (01577 863329). Please do not leave a recorded message but only make your booking through direct conversation with me. Bookings will not be accepted by any other means, but you may feel free to book on behalf of others (with their consent) if they are unable to do so themselves. There will be set hours for making bookings and these will be Tuesday to Friday each week from 7.00p.m.-8.00p.m. (with the exception of Thursday 1st April when I will have Holy Mass), please do not phone later than 8.00p.m. for bookings. Please also be aware that others may be trying to contact me at this time, so if you wish to speak to me about other pastoral/personal issues it would be fairer to others trying to book Mass to contact me at a time other than the one allocated for Mass bookings to speak about these things – thank you for your understanding.

The reason for my strictness with this is that I made several double-bookings or omitted bookings the last time these procedures were in place and I do not wish this to happen again for all of our sakes. I would also require that booking be essential, not optional, if you wish to attend Holy Mass, as I do not want to have to ask pass-keepers to turn people away because there is insufficient space to maintain the required social-distancing. All of these measures are necessary for everyone’s well-being and sense of ease whilst in church, not to speak of the smooth running of the booking process.

Numbers & Hygiene:

Numbers will be limited given the smallness of our churches, so that we will be talking only of a few more than 20 places, possibly, at each Mass or liturgical celebration. Hygiene protocols, which must be strictly adhered to, will return as they were previously. Parishioners without an official exemption will be expected to wear face masks… and I imagine that none of this will surprise you.

Timetable (26/03/21 to 04/04/21):

I will not be taking bookings until the evening of Tuesday 23rd March (7.00p.m. – 8.00p.m. only) but you might already like to be thinking about when you hope to attend. Please neither be hesitant to book out of concern for preventing others coming , but also be sensitive to the fact that if one books several slots one may be making it difficult for others to attend even once – hopefully we can strike a happy balance.

At the moment, then, I am proposing the following timetable from Friday 26th March until Wednesday 31st March inclusive:

Friday 26th March – Holy Mass in St. James’, Kinross, at 10.00a.m.

Confessions in the church hall after the 10.00a.m. Mass

Saturday 27th March – Holy Mass in St. Matthew’s, Auchtermuchty, at 3.00p.m.

Confessions in the sacristy after the 3.00p.m. Mass

Saturday 27th March – Holy Mass in St. James’, Kinross, at 5.00p.m.

Confessions in the church hall after the 5.00p.m. Mass

Sunday 28th March – Holy Mass in St. James’, Kinross, at 9.00a.m.

Sunday 28th March – Holy Mass in St. James’, Kinross, at 11.00a.m.

Sunday 28th March – Holy Mass in St. James’, Kinross, at 1.00p.m.

Monday 29th March – Holy Mass in St. James’, Kinross, at 7.00p.m.

Confessions available after Mass each weekday in the church hall.

Tuesday 30th March – Holy Mass in St. James’, Kinross, at 10.00a.m.

Wednesday 31st March – Holy Mass in St. James’, Kinross, at 10.00a.m.

Holy Thursday, 1st April  – Holy Mass in St. James’, Kinross, at 7.00p.m.

Good Friday, 2nd April  – The Liturgy of the Passion in St. James’, Kinross, at 3.00p.m.

Holy Saturday, 3rd April – Office of Readings, Morning Prayer & Prayer During the Day live-streamed via Facebook at 10.00a.m.

Easter Sunday, 4th April – Holy Mass at 9.00a.m. in St. Matthew’s, Auchtermuchty. Holy Mass at 11.00a.m., and 1.00p.m., and 3.00p.m. in St. James’, Kinross.

I am very much looking forward to opening the churches and to joining with you once more for the celebration of Holy Mass and Confession. It seems such a long time since we were able to come together to worship the Lord as we should. I pray, and would ask you do the same same, please, that very soon we will resume our normal worship free of the restrictions that we have had to get used to this past while. God bless you and yours and let us continue to pray for each other,

With every blessing,

Fr. Martin Pletts

Re-opening of churches and Mass bookings…

My dear parishioners, I hope you’re all keeping the Faith and keeping well! You are all very much missed. Good news to know that all being equal we should be able to open up again from Friday 26th March for Holy Mass, and in preparation for the most sacred time in the Church’s calendar: Holy Week.

I want to share with you my thoughts about re-opening and the schedule up to Holy Week.

Thanks in advance:

I want to express my gratitude, in advance, to all those who will help us to re-open and all who have already done so much to ensure that our churches are hospitable, safe, and friendly environments in which to worship. I am extremely grateful to pass-keepers, cleaners, stewards, organisers, etc. for the hard work they have already put in and will once again put in, to enable us to function as we should – on your behalf and mine I express our indebtedness to them all.

I’d now like to speak to you about the practicalities of it all…

Bookings:

Bookings will, for this period, only be taken by phone and must be made exclusively via the landline (01577 863329). Please do not leave a recorded message but only make your booking through direct conversation with me. Bookings will not be accepted by any other means, but you may feel free to book on behalf of others (with their consent) if they are unable to do so themselves. There will be set hours for making bookings and these will be Tuesday to Friday each week from 7.00p.m.-8.00p.m., please do not phone later than 8.00p.m. for bookings.

The reason for my strictness with this is that I made several double-bookings or omitted bookings the last time these procedures were in place and I do not wish this to happen again for all of our sakes. I would also require that booking be essential, not optional, if you wish to attend Holy Mass, as I do not want to have to ask pass-keepers to turn people away because there is insufficient space to maintain the required social-distancing. All of these measures are necessary for everyone’s well-being and sense of ease whilst in church, not to speak of the smooth running of the booking process.

Numbers & Hygiene:

Numbers will be limited given the smallness of our churches, so that we will be talking only of a few more than 20 places, possibly, at each Mass or liturgical celebration. Hygiene protocols, which must be strictly adhered to, will return as they were previously. Parishioners without an official exemption will be expected to wear face masks… and I imagine that none of this will surprise you.

Proposed Timetable (26/03/21 to 31/03/21):

I will not be taking bookings until the evening of Tuesday 23rd March (7.00p.m. – 8.00p.m. only) but you might already like to be thinking about when you hope to attend. Please neither be hesitant to book out of concern for preventing others coming , but also be sensitive to the fact that if one books several slots one may be making it difficult for others to attend even once – hopefully we can strike a happy balance.

At the moment, then, I am proposing the following timetable from Friday 26th March until Wednesday 31st March inclusive:

Friday 26th March – Holy Mass in St. James’, Kinross, at 10.00a.m.

Confessions in the church hall after the 10.00a.m. Mass

Saturday 27th March – Holy Mass in St. Matthew’s, Auchtermuchty, at 3.00p.m.

Confessions in the sacristy after the 3.00p.m. Mass

Saturday 27th March – Holy Mass in St. James’, Kinross, at 5.00p.m.

Confessions in the church hall after the 5.00p.m. Mass

Sunday 28th March – Holy Mass in St. James’, Kinross, at 9.00a.m.

Sunday 28th March – Holy Mass in St. James’, Kinross, at 11.00a.m.

Sunday 28th March – Holy Mass in St. James’, Kinross, at 1.00p.m.

Monday 29th March – Holy Mass in St. James’, Kinross, at 7.00p.m.

Confessions available after Mass each weekday in the church hall.

Tuesday 30th March – Holy Mass in St. James’, Kinross, at 10.00a.m.

Wednesday 31st March – Holy Mass in St. James’, Kinross, at 10.00a.m.

N.b. In due course the schedule for Holy Week will appear here on the parish website. For the sake of practicality the main celebrations for the Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday) will take place in St. James’, Kinross, and hopefully next year, when things return to normality (God willing) St. Matthew’s will have an opportunity to host some of these important liturgical celebrations. Naturally there will be provision in both churches this year for the celebration of Easter Sunday.

I am very much looking forward to opening the churches and to joining with you once more for the celebration of Holy Mass and Confession. It seems such a long time since we were able to come together to worship the Lord as we should. I pray, and would ask you do the same same, please, that very soon we will resume our normal worship free of the restrictions that we have had to get used to this past while. God bless you and yours and let us continue to pray for each other,

With every blessing,

Fr. Martin Pletts

A further update…

The following is an excerpt from an email from Bishop Robson to the clergy of the diocese. I offer this for your information. Further clarification will be given in due course…

As many of you will by now realise the First Minister made a Statement today, giving the daily statistics, updating the gradual relaxation of COVID restrictions – especially imparting the good news concerning the reopening of ‘Places of Worship’ for us: our Catholic Churches.

The advice was straightforward but is dependent on the COVID statistics continuing to decline/stabilize.

The Statement contained the following notices relative to us:

Our Churches can re-open for public worship as from Friday, 26th March 2021 (the Friday before Palm Sunday). Thanks be to God we shall be open for Holy Week and Easter.
However, for our Catholic churches, this will mean continuing our current arrangements for entering our churches, registering contact details of attendees, the wearing of masks, the observation of social distancing and the rules concerning the distribution of Holy Communion. These arrangements will continue for the foreseeable future.
The so-called ‘cap’ has been raised to that which we experienced during the First 2020 lockdown i.e., a maximum of 50 worshipers, while still observing social distancing.