Socially-distanced Mass Procedure
Mass times are available in the newsletter, available on this website. Numbers at each Mass will be limited to 45 to allow for social distancing and you must let us know in advance which Mass you will be attending each week. You can do this either by email – firstname.lastname@example.org – or by phone – 01603-742812. Please note that you will not be able to attend Mass if you have not let us know in advance that you will be attending on that day, how many of you there will be, and you have had confirmation that there is enough room. I know this sounds contrary to our ethos of welcoming but at the moment it is absolutely necessary. Everyone is asked to attend just one Mass a week. The obligation to attend Sunday Mass has been waived so it is all right to attend Mass on another day or not attend Mass at all. If at all possible, please choose a weekday for your regular attendance for the time being, leaving the weekend Masses (Sunday in particular) for those who cannot come during the week.
When you arrive, a steward will check that your name is on the list. Sanitise your hands with the sanitiser provided. You can leave your offertory money in a basket in the porch. Another steward will direct you to your seat(s). Please follow their instructions and sit wherever you are placed. Half of the benches will be taped off, and the rest have to be filled as efficiently as possible to make sure that everyone is seated at a suitable distance from others.
Please sit or stand during the Mass. We ask you not to kneel as most people put their hands to their face in a prayerful position when kneeling and this is to be avoided. The doors and windows will be left open during Mass to ensure a flow of fresh air. We have also been asked to keep the time to a minimum so that you are in the church for as short a time as possible. The homily will be brief (no arguments there, I’m sure!) and there will be no bidding prayers. I will nominate one reader for each Mass: they are asked to wear disposable gloves (available in the porch) when reading. Communal singing will not be permitted, though we may have music and a cantor at some Masses. There will be no servers at Mass as only the priest is allowed to touch the vessels, etc. There will be no offertory procession and no sign of peace.
Before communion, the priest will hold up the host and say ‘The Body of Christ’, to which everyone will respond ‘Amen’. The same with the chalice – ‘The Blood of Christ’, ‘Amen’. After the priest has taken Holy Communion himself he will purify the vessels then sanitise his hands before giving communion to the people. Stewards will direct people to come up one row at a time. Please wait until they do this. Communion will be given from behind a table (next to the lectern) to ensure social distancing. Please receive communion on the hand and standing. Extend your arms as far as possible to receive. Return to your bench, then the stewards will usher forward those in the next bench.
At the end of Mass, please leave as quickly as possible. Please take your newsletter away with you. Do not leave it in the church or the porch. Sanitise your hands again before you leave. As soon as everyone has gone the stewards will clean the church after which it will be locked.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
I know that this is not how we would wish things to be, but the great thing is that we can celebrate Mass together again and receive our Lord in Holy Communion. I ask you all to comply with these guidelines to ensure the safety of everyone.
26th March 2021