We’re Ready to Re-Open St. Edward’s Church
August 23rd, 2020
Please note…. Do not turn up for Mass in the usual way because space is limited due to the Covid-19 regulations and we might have to turn you away if we are full. To be fair to all who wish to attend, we have implemented a seat booking system using a dedicated phone number – 0739 6606 881 Mon or Wed 9.30am-12 noon or Thursday evening 6-8pm only.
Please DO NOT call the presbytery in order to book your Mass
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. The virus is still with us so clearly we need to continue being 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 worry 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 buildings for Mass possible. It has been a lot of work to wade through the guidelines, work out how they apply to us, get our buildings cleaned and ensure we have all the correct protocols in place to minimise the risk of transmission.
Pre-booked Masses are scheduled for the following times
(Currently no altar servers are required)
Tuesday mornings at 10am
Friday evenings at 7pm
Saturday Vigil at 6.30pm
Sundays at 8.30am (not 8am) and 10.30am
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. We still need more stewards and cleaners to further develop our teams – please contact the presbytery by email if you wish to help.
To Book Your Seat for Mass
It feels very strange 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 this procedure:
- Please DO NOT telephone the presbytery as they will not be able to help you. Instead phone 0739 6606 881 Mon or Wed 9.30am-12 noon or Thursday evening 6-8pm only. Please note that the telephone will not be manned at other times.
- Only one Mass can be booked at a time. If all Masses that week are full you will be offered the next available Mass.
- 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.
- 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 identified 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 that 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Please do not attempt to attend each Mass (or even weekly) until we see what the demand is. If there is very high demand, it may be that you only get to Mass once every two or three weeks. 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 according to demand. Once we can see the demand levels, we may be able to relax the system a little but any change will be announced here, so please keep checking!
- Our teams of Stewards have received their training and cleaning teams have met 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.
When You Go To Your Mass
Please Observe the Following Procedure
You will find that Mass is shorter and very different to what you have been used to. These notes may help you to know what to expect and are derived from those issued by the Bishop’s Conference, working with relevant government departments.
Please arrive for private prayer no earlier than 20 minutes before Mass starts as trained stewards will be preparing the church for you.
Please bring your own mask as it is now mandatory that you wear one. Masks help stop the spread of viruses in close proximity environments.
A church’s communal nature can make them places that are particularly vulnerable to the spread of Covid-19. Children under 11 and those with disability or impairment are exempt.
1. Please do not attend church if you are at all unwell (temperature, new continuous cough, change to your sense of smell or taste, headache, sickness, diarrhoea)
2. Queue outside as indicated on the church forecourt, keeping two metres apart – you may need an umbrella!
3. Trained stewards wearing PPE will call you in one booking at a time. Please follow all their instructions for everyone’s safety. There will be a collection plate at the entrance, should you wish to deposit your offering, as we cannot pass the collection plate between parishioners in the normal way. Alternatively you can donate online with Gift Aid facility. This can be done via the Diocesan website which can be found at https://northamptondiocese.org/ . Scroll down to find the ‘Donate’ button and follow the instructions on the Catholic Diocese of Northampton Virgin money giving page. By indicating in the notes section of the donate page that the donation is for “St. Edward’s Kettering” your donation will go into our parish account with the diocese, you can see other ways to donate further down at the end of this newsletter. After entering church, stewards will then ensure you sanitise your hands with hospital grade gel which quickly dries. You may take a Mass sheet if available but please take it home. There will be no Holy Water stoups.
4. The steward will then show you to your booked seat. The church has been clearly marked out with a one-way route and some seats are blocked off. The balcony is closed. Children can only be admitted if they will stay in their seat and understand that they cannot touch things. Please consider this carefully in relation to your child. Seats will be filled from the front backwards with the longer pews reserved for families. The side seats are for individuals only.
5. Please read and abide by the guidelines card placed on your reserved seat. Please do not use the kneelers and refrain from shaking hands.
6. There can be no singing (due to increased risks of expelling viral droplets into the air) and Mass will be shorter than usual. The instructions received state that the homily should be brief and the offertory procession will be omitted. After the prayer ‘Behold the Lamb of God’.., the priest will elevate the Sacrament and proclaim ‘The Body/Blood of Christ’ to the congregation who will reply ‘Amen’. There will be no individual dialogue between the priest and communicant at the point of reception. The priest will have sanitised his hands and will wear a mask but will not speak.
7. Stewards will indicate when you can go up to take communion, starting with the front pews, and queuing 2m. apart using the floor guides (see photo). Please leave the guidelines card on your seat with the red cross uppermost to indicate that the seat needs cleaning before the next user. Take your belongings with you to communion and receive in the hand only. In accordance with government conditions for re-opening and to minimise the risks of spreading coronavirus, the Bishops have stated that there is to be no reception on the tongue and no shared chalice.
8. After consuming the Blessed Sacrament and to avoid contact with the next communicant, you will then need to leave church via the Sacristy side door and exit as indicated. It will not be possible to return to your seat or to go into the Sacristy.
If you need to see the priest, whether for advice or confession, this needs to be organised by phoning the presbytery separately.
9. You may re-sanitise your hands at the dispenser by the sacristy door on the way out. Please note that we are requested to close the toilets except in emergency.