Coronavirus – Covid 19 – Update
Coming Back to Mass
It is with great joy that we are once again able to come to our churches, with Mass available for parishioners to attend on Saturday in Southwell at 6.00pm and on Sunday in Calverton at 10.45am. During the partial lockdown there should be no social interaction in church (outside of our bubble), but otherwise Mass will be celebrated much as it was until early November: that is that we can come to church with a maximum (including priest and stewards) of 24 people in Southwell and 30 people in Calverton.
To book a place telephone Kathleen and Robert Dixon on 01636 813874, at any reasonable time from 8.30am Monday morning until 4.30pm Friday evening; if there’s no reply leave a message, with your name and number, and they’ll return your call. Don’t use any other number to contact Kathleen and Robert, and please also note:
A place needs to be booked for each individual who plans to attend;
You’ll be asked to provide a telephone number, to be passed onto Public Health England if needed as part of the ‘Test and Trace’ system;
Sunday Masses bookings can be made during the preceding week, from Monday morning (no earlier), until Friday evening, before the Sunday Mass booked.
Latest Guidance from Bishop Patrick
In light of the Government’s recent decisions about the relaxation of covid-19 regulations from Monday, Bishop Patrick has written with some directions about how we might relax the restrictions in our churches in Nottingham Diocese. His overriding concern is that churches should remain safe places in which those who feel able to can come and give glory to God in their celebration of the Mass, and as places of private prayer, open during the day for those who wish to pray privately. Some pertinent extracts from the regulations are given below:
Prevailing Local Conditions
All places of worship should always consider the prevailing local conditions for the virus. Special consideration should be given to rates at which people are being vaccinated in the locality, the prevalence of new variants of the virus, the local rates of hospital admissions and any local public health advice. These data can be obtained from the Director of Public Health at the local authority, or the local Environmental Health Department , and it is important to have knowledge of these figures.
It is important to mitigate against the risks of virus transmission. Although the vaccine rollout programme is very successful to date, over 85% of adults having had one dose and 64% two doses, the risk of transmission is still live and there are enough people not protected by vaccination to result in significant hospitalisations. However, HM Government has clearly stated that the progression from infection to hospitalisation and ultimately to deaths has been appreciably reduced through the vaccine programme. Most people admitted to hospital currently are only partially vaccinated or not vaccinated at all and communities should continue to encourage people to participate in the vaccination programme.
Churches should continue to provide hand sanitiser at entrances and exits and face coverings are strongly recommended to be worn by those in church. General cleaning to a good standard, using commonly available cleaning fluids and detergents, with attention to frequent touchpoints is the standard to continue. This is consistent with the advice from Public Health England. While the virus can land on surfaces and can infect people if they touch those surfaces and then touch their mouth, nose or eyes, this risk is significantly lower than the risk from aerosol or droplet spread which is mitigated against with good ventilation and a face covering.
There are key actions which churches and parishes have been doing, and should continue to do, even after 19th July which significantly reduce this risk.
Social Distancing and Capacity of Churches
From 19th July, there will be no legislation on social distancing in England, and thus churches may increase their capacity. Care has to be taken to ensure that churches continue to be places where people feel safe to gather to worship. Each local community should examine the local conditions regarding the virus, and adopt an attitude of care for the people who desire to attend Mass. Suggestions to help this include (but are not limited to):
In large churches, designating an area of the church where there will be set places, socially distant from each other, and where those seated there will be required to wear a face covering.
In places which cannot do this, considering whether one Mass over the weekend schedule would continue providing a reduced capacity with social distancing.
Producing simple cards with a phrase such as “Please leave a Space” which people can pick up on entry to church and put beside them so that a space can be left to allow for distancing.
The adoption of methods such as these will build confidence in the people that the church remains a safe place to enter and worship. Each church should continue to assess the local situation regarding the virus and adapt as necessary to the local conditions. This may mean that in areas of very high transmission, churches may have tighter measures than in areas of lower transmission.
Indoor congregational singing will be permitted from 19th July. The use of cantor groups and other choirs is now permitted. It is recommended that singing should be phased in gently as part of worship over the summer period and that face coverings should be worn by members of the congregation whilst singing together, until infection levels reduce.
Opening of Churches
Churches can be left open and unsupervised for individual prayer during times when there are no public acts of worship. QR codes (or other means of attendee identification) should be clearly signposted at entrances and those entering encouraged to use them for test, track and trace purposes. Hand sanitiser should still be made prominently available for people to use.
Test, Track and Trace
As long as the NHS Test, Track and Trace system is in operation, churches should continue to make available the means for people to sign in for acts of worship using the NHS app and the associated QR codes (or other means of attendee identification). If an online Mass Booking system is in place, this too could be adapted to the new capacities of the churches and continue to be used so that attendees are known.
One-way systems and movement of people
It is no longer necessary to have one-way systems or other restrictions on movement in churches from this time onward. People should exercise good responsible behaviour especially when moving to receive Holy Communion during Mass and should avoid getting too close to each other.
The deployment of stewards will no longer be necessary to show people to designated seats etc (except when a community has decided to employ social distancing as part of a scheduled Mass). However, a welcoming presence at the church door is a valuable sign of hospitality, and stewards can assist in the cleaning of frequently used touch points within the church building.
Celebration of Holy Mass
The following is recommended for the celebration of Holy Mass from the 19th July within the churches and communities in the Diocese of Nottingham:
At this time, it is not recommended that Holy Water stoups are refilled. Should people wish to receive holy water, it is recommended that a container with a tap is provided so that small bottles can be filled which can then be taken home.
All usual ministers for the celebration of Holy Mass can be deployed such as servers, cantors, readers and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.
The offertory collection can be resumed in church with baskets and pouches, however, it is encouraged to promote online or contactless giving in the churches if possible.
It is recommended that the physical Sign of Peace remain suspended as it is not an integral part of the Mass, and its omission will help to reduce physical contact between people during the celebration.
Holy Communion will continue to be under one kind and the ministers will continue to sanitise their hands beforehand and wear a face covering whilst distributing. Communion is recommended to be distributed in the hand but those who wish to receive on the tongue may do so. There should be care on the part of the minister to avoid physical contact with the hand or the tongue of the communicant when distributing Holy Communion. In the event of contamination the minister should sanitise their hands before further distribution.
QR Code in Church
Along with most public buildings both of our churches and the parish hall now have their own QR code, situated just inside the door. If you have a smart-phone please scan the code as you come in, enabling you to ‘check in’ and assisting with the Government’s Track and Trace system. Please note this is in addition to booking a place at Mass, and not instead – please continue to book for Mass as well!
What to expect when coming to Mass
In order to comply with the Bishop’s guidelines on celebrating Masses in the covid-19 period there’ll be some differences in that way we come to Mass and the way Mass is celebrated. Please follow these directions, and recognise that those asking you to follow the directions are volunteers themselves:
Please don’t attend if you show any symptoms of covid-19;
Try to arrive no earlier than half an hour before Mass, and no later than ten minutes before Mass, to allow time for each person to enter one-by-one;
Enter via the car park and follow the one-way signs, waiting by the 2 metre markers in front of the church door if others have arrived before you;
Ensure you bring a mask to wear throughout the time in church, except when receiving Holy Communion; the mask should be worn so as to fully and snugly cover the wearer’s mouth and nose;
Please use the hand-sanitiser (provided) on arrival;
Please take one of the Mass Sheets, and a Newsletter, and take them home with you after Mass;
Put your weekly offering into the basket in the narthex;
There won’t be any holy water available, the repository will be closed, and there are no Catholic papers currently available;
Please sit on the seat to which you are directed, following the one-way system; seating is at two-metre intervals (in Southwell couples can sit next to each other, and families in a single pew; in Calverton the chairs have been laid out singularly);
Please avoid any contact with other parishioners; don’t speak unless necessary;
Only the disabled toilet will be available for use, and only if absolutely necessary. If you do use the toilet, please do so before you are seated, and then go to your seat (in Southwell, by exiting the hall lobby, walking around the side of the church, and re-entering the church through the main door, following the one-way system);
Windows and doors will be open to enable as much ventilation as possible;
The Mass Sheet will explain the changes in the way Mass is celebrated, especially:
There will be no congregational singing;
Responses will be made with quiet voices;
There will be no ministries (eg altar servers, readers) during Mass;
There will be no sign of peace;
After Mass you will be invited to receive Holy Communion; then exit the church following the one-way system, out into the car park, and leave immediately.
Don’t linger too long in the car park after Mass, tempting as it is to chat with fellow parishioners!
Please dress appropriately for the weather and temperature.
To continue to participate in the life of the Church:
The readings and prayers for Mass each day can be found here:
Daily Mass is broadcast from the Cathedral at the following times:
Sunday and Saturday: 10am
The link to the televised Mass is here:
Daily Mass is broadcast from the National Shrine and Minor Basilica of Our Lady in Walsingham each day at 12 noon:
Mass, celebrated by Bishop Patrick, will be broadcast from his chapel at Bishop’s House on various days each week:
The Bishop is also celebrating other liturgies (Holy Hours, the Rosary, etc), so check his YouTube channel, on the above link, to find out more.
Pope Francis has written this special prayer, and is encouraging Christians throughout the world to unite in praying it:
O Mary, you shine continuously on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope.
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick.
At the foot of the Cross you participated in Jesus’ pain, with steadfast faith.
You, Salvation of the Roman People, know what we need.
We are certain that you will provide, so that, as you did at Cana of Galilee,
joy and feasting might return after this moment of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love, to conform ourselves to the Father’s will
and to do what Jesus tells us:
He who took our sufferings upon Himself, and bore our sorrows to bring us,
through the Cross, to the joy of the Resurrection. Amen.
We seek refuge under your protection, O Holy Mother of God.
Do not despise our pleas – we who are put to the test –
and deliver us from every danger,
O glorious and blessed Virgin.