Coronavirus Outbreak: Suspension of Masses and Services

No Masses will take place in any of our Churches from Saturday 21st. March until further notice

A Message From Cardinal Vincent Nichols

Cardinal Vincent Nichols

In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, so many aspects of our lives must change. This includes the ways in which we publicly express our faith. It is very clear that, following official advice and in order to keep each other safe, save lives and support the NHS, at this time we must not gather for public acts of worship in our churches. This will begin from Friday evening, 20th March 2020, until further notice.  However, the celebration of Mass, Sunday by Sunday and day by day, will take place without a public congregation.

Knowing that the Mass is being celebrated; joining in spiritually in that celebration; watching the live-streaming of the Mass; following its prayers at home; making an act of spiritual communion: this is how we share in the Sacrifice of Christ in these days. These are the ways in which we will sanctify Sunday, and indeed every day.

We want everyone to understand that in these emergency circumstances, and for as long as they last, the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days is removed. This is, without doubt, the teaching of the Church (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2181). This pandemic is the ‘serious reason’ why this obligation does not apply at this time.

The second vital aspect of these challenging times is our care for each other. There are so many ways in which we are to do this: being attentive to the needs of our neighbour, especially the elderly and vulnerable; contributing to our local food banks; volunteering for charitable initiatives and organisations; simply keeping in touch by all the means open to us.

During these disturbing and threatening times, the rhythm of the prayer of the Church will continue. Please play your part in it. The effort of daily kindness and mutual support for all will continue and increase. Please play your part in this too. For your commitment to this, we thank you.

 A Message from your Parish Priest

We are all facing a time of difficulty on many fronts because of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Firstly, it is an added strain on our NHS as they strive to cope with increasing cases of sick people.   We must thank and pray for our medical and health workers, many of whom come from our parish community, who are at the front line helping those who could infect them whilst the rest of us try to keep ourselves safe.

Secondly, it is a difficult time for the economy that we have been told could deliver all sorts of wonderful dreams. But the economy depends on people working to earn money which they spend to pay people who are working.   We must pray for those who may experience financial hardship and even help them out in our community if we can.

Thirdly, this is a difficult time for a culture that has been accustomed to entertainment and noise.  Now we have self-isolation, no more news about the fantasy world of stardom and much more silence.  These threaten the lifestyle that has kept us ‘distracted from distraction by distraction’.  The ‘me’ culture is threatened when ‘my right to choose’ is challenged.  There will be many who feel very disorientated when they discover how shallow that lie is.

The challenge for us in Church is to see how we can speak of hope in the crisis of uncertainty that we face, particularly as now all Masses and church gatherings have been suspended.

 Firstly, we have to look after the physical needs and health of those who are most in danger. That means taking precautions so as not to spread the virus in our community – and looking out for people who need extra help in their own homes. We are invited to be thoughtful and generous. This is not a time for selfishness.

Secondly – like in the news clips of Italians singing from their balconies – we have to be creative so that we can laugh together in the face of the fear that threatens to overwhelm many people.  Communities can support one another and ways are already emerging as to how this might happen.  For our parish, with access to Masses now suspended, our main way of staying in touch spiritually is via our website and so there are some suggestions below that you might like to consider .

Thirdly, as followers of Jesus, we know that difficult times are a call to renewed prayer and penance. Those who know Jesus believe that evil can never win – whether we are talking about physical threats or sin.  As St. Paul wrote, “Nothing can separate us from the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus Our Lord”. (Romans 8:39).  Despite current bans on gatherings, this is a time to pray alone and with others in our homes.  Help children to pray in their own houses.  Counteract the wave of frightening news that is coming at them from every side.  Listen to their worries and concerns.  Speak of trust in God and help them to know Jesus who suffered so much.

Please keep in touch via our website, newsletter and email.  There are prayers about the outbreak elsewhere on our website* – please use them.  United in great prayer and praying for the Lord’s protection for us all at this difficult, fearful and mysterious time.

With every blessing,
Fr Gregory.

*When Mass Cannot Be Celebrated Publicly – Making a Spiritual Communion
*Parish Newsletters
*Prayers During a Time of Flu and Illness

OTHER INFORMATION:

  • The ‘Spiritual Communion’ which your Cardinal has advised you to make instead of attending Mass can be found on our website at When Mass Cannot Be Celebrated Publicly – Making a Spiritual Communion. Our own Cathedral will live stream its Masses but you can choose more convenient times to suit you by going to https://www.churchservices.tv/whats-on-now/ .  This site lists Catholic churches across the country which stream their Masses live at various times of day – just select the one you fancy and you will be connected.  At the Basilica of Our Lady of Walsingham, Holy Mass is live streamed daily at 12noon – http://www.walsingham.org.uk/home    If you have no internet, EWTN TV has Mass live streamed twice a day at 12 Noon and 6pm.
  • Rosary on the Coast UK are inviting you to join a great mission of prayer, a novena for our peoples and nations at this time. Bishop John Keenan has launched a new video at https://youtu.be/9XaYwYOYjuc   to rally people to strong prayer and penance.  It is a powerful rallying call to Catholics to take up spiritual arms across Scotland, Wales, Ireland, England, and all the Isles around.  Go to rosaryonthecoast.co.uk for the link to the Protection Prayer.   Here is the link to the Protection Prayer on the Rosary on the Coast website.  https://4058dcf1-9a99-4068-a145-e32024eafa05.filesusr.com/ugd/63f077_980e352576c444359154f035e374b0c1.pdf
  • How to protect your mental health during times of isolation https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-51873799
  • How families can cope with self-isolating together, see https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51936286
  • Cyber-criminals are targeting individuals offering ‘help’ and fake treatments for the virus. Phishing emails written in English, French, Italian, Japanese, and Turkish languages have been found. The BBC has tracked five of the campaigns.  Please see https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-51838468  for information and be warned!
  • Newspapers and Sunday Collection : We are still receiving the newspaper deliveries. If you would like to collect a newspaper and “Magnificat” or “My Day by Day”, please come to the parish office between 9am and 1pm Tuesday to Friday.
  • If you would still like to support the Parish by making a donation, please post this through the letterbox of the presbytery at any time.

Live Mass at Northampton Cathedral