We’re Re-Opening For Mass – August 22nd

Here are some updated details……..

After weeks of closure, during which time we took the opportunity to refurbish our church to make it warmer, brighter and fresher, we’re aiming to celebrate our first Mass on Saturday August 22 at 6.30pm. Face covering is now mandatory unless you are exempt.

Sadly we have to limit the number of parishioners at each Mass as it is still the diocesan preference to socially distance by around two metres (6 ft) where possible.  This better safeguards those who are officially exempt from wearing a mask due to disability or other reason.  You may be interested in reading the official warning in the Evening Telegraph (Aug 7th.) which, as well as successes, talks of  “Kettering’s rate of infection remaining significantly higher than the national and county rates.”  Clearly, we still need to be very careful especially in close proximity indoor environments like ours.

Our Cardinal and Bishops have asked all Catholics to instead consider attending weekday Masses if you can, to ease the demand for Sunday Masses, so enabling those who work during the week to attend.  Please note that the obligation to attend Sunday Masses continues to be suspended.  So please do not feel guilty if you currently prefer not to attend Mass in church at all during these strange times as permission is still granted for Spiritual Communion via live streaming, details of which can be found in the Bishop’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) section. Alternatively visit https://www.churchservices.tv/timetable/

Thank you to everyone who has made opening our church building for Mass possible.  It has been a lot of work to wade through the guidelines, work out how they apply to us, get our building cleaned and ensure that we have all the correct protocols in place to minimise the risk of transmission.

Pre-booked Masses are provisionally scheduled for the following times

  • Tuesday mornings at 10am., starting September 8th.
  • Friday evenings at 7pm., starting August 28th.
  • Saturday Vigil at 6.30pm., starting August 22nd.
  • Sundays at 8.30am (not 8am) and 10.30am, starting August 23rd.

Depending on demand and availability of stewards, we may be able to offer more but let’s first of all see how these current arrangements will work.

Booking Line Opens August 17th to Book Your Seat for Mass

It feels all wrong to have to book a place for Mass (rather like you would to go to the theatre) so we do thank you for your co-operation.  We may not need a booking system once things settle down but until we can assess demand, please follow the following procedure:

  1. Please don’t telephone the presbytery as they will not be able to help you. The booking line will go live on Monday 17th. August  and will be staffed ONLY between 9.30am and 12.00 midday Monday to Friday.  The number will be publicised here next weekend. Only one Mass can be booked at a time. If all Masses that week are full you will be offered the next available Mass.
  2. To reserve your seat, you will be asked for your name, phone number and the number in your household for whom you are booking. This enables us to contact you if we have advance warning of a Mass having to be cancelled, such as for a funeral.
  3. Recent research highlighted in national news shows that a second wave of the virus would be prevented if 75% of people with Covid symptoms were found and 68% of their contacts traced.  In caring for our community, we have therefore decided to assist the government Track & Trace scheme by keeping a temporary record of visitors for 21 days.  It is not obligatory, but we ask when you book that you please give permission for your details to be securely held for 21 days. This data will be given to NHS contact tracers should a local epidemic break out and be traced to our church so that you can take appropriate action to safeguard your health.
  4. You will be allocated a seat which is a safe distance from any other booking so, for everyone’s safety, please do not use another seat. People from the same household may of course sit together.
  5. If you find you cannot attend the Mass you booked, please phone the dedicated booking line as soon as possible to cancel – between the hours given so that your seat can be offered to another person.
  6. Please do not attempt to attend each Mass (or even weekly) until we see what the demand is. If there is very high demand from our four churches, it may be that you only get to Mass once every two or three weeks perhaps.  In between these times, don’t forget that there is still the dispensation in force which enables you to live-stream Masses for a Spiritual Communion.  Our record of bookings will enable us to distribute the Mass seats as equably and fairly as possible across all parishioners so that each gets a fair allocation.  Once we can see the demand levels, we can perhaps relax the system a little but any change to the above will be announced here, so please keep checking!
  7. Our teams of Stewards are receiving their training soon and cleaning teams are meeting to assess the best way forward. Our thanks go to them all. Without their commitment to these ministries we would not be able to open at all.  The booking phone number will be available here next weekend along with details of the differences you can expect when attending Mass.