Letter from Bishop David, October 9th, 2020

Header of Bishop's Letter

9 October 2020

My dear friends in Christ,

Greetings to you in the name of our Servant Lord!

I want to write to you, to express my personal gratitude for your service as a steward in your parish community. It is through your personal generosity and dedication, that we have been able to reopen our churches for prayer, and to keep them open, for the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and other sacraments.

Your patient attention to preparing our churches, through regular cleaning, assistance with hand gel and guidance of visitors through the one-way systems in place, whilst ensuring social distancing, have made a real difference. Parishioners are able to come back to church, feeling safe and secure in these still very challenging times.

I have seen for myself, the effective and efficient manner in which you have carried out your stewardship. One might almost say in a very professional way. This has ensured that our churches are some of the most safest places and buildings throughout the land for people to enter.

All this is very necessary for us to continue. I know that it is difficult for some parish communities to find volunteers. None of us have realised how long this phase of the pandemic would be. I want to encourage you to continue to volunteer, and I encourage our priests to seek other volunteers to help alongside you with this indispensable ministry. I also appreciate how difficult your role can be at times, when you are challenged by those who do not wish to follow the guidelines.

From time to time, we hear talk of what is essential and non-essential. Unfortunately, there is no account in this discourse of the essential nature of our common lives as disciples of Christ. For us as Catholics, our participation in Holy Mass and the sacraments does not belong to the non-essential. This coming together as a community, called out of darkness into light, is what defines us. In this regard, your volunteer ministry as stewards is a great blessing for us all.

Please be assured of my remembrance of you in my daily Rosary, and please do keep me in your prayers.

Yours devotedly in Christ,

Rt Rev Dr David J Oakley

Bishop of Northampton