Weekend message Aug 8th
The Mass for the Dedication of a Church traditionally begins: “This is a wonderful and awe-inspiring place: it is the house of God, the gate of heaven” These words are taken from Jacob’s exclamation when he woke from the dream in which God had promised him that his descendants would be abundant and would occupy the land (Genesis 28:17). Jacob had been sleeping in the open; there was no ‘house of God’ there until he set up the stone on which he had been lying as a monument.
As we celebrate the opening of our two Churches for public worship this weekend, this is a timely reminder to us of two things: that God comes to us wherever we are – we don’t have to be in a building called ‘Church’; and that God intends and expects us to do his work.
Even though we have been unable to celebrate together as we would wish, we are still able to pray to God for the needs of the world, and we are still able to show mercy to others, even while maintaining a social distance! God calls us to be creative in the ways in which we listen to his words, pray, and come to the aid of our fellow men and women, so many of whom are affected to a far greater extent than we have been by this world-wide crisis.
I am very grateful to many of you who have been distributing my messages to those who do not have the benefit of email, and also to those of you who have passed on to me message from others, including more email addresses for me to send to. I am now sending to 90 email addresses in the parish of St. Pius X, and 70 in the parish of Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus. Together with those messages which you pass on, that is an important way in which we try to maintain ourselves as a fellowship in the Lord.
Apart from passing on my messages, I know that a great deal of work has been done by a number of parishioners of both parishes, and I am very grateful to you all. The poor people who already relied on the foodbank have been in even greater need during the past four months, and I know that many of you have responded to their need as best you can in these circumstances. Others of you I know have made sure that they have kept in contact with our people who are ill, housebound, shielding, or isolated. In preparation for our Churches being allowed to open, there was a great deal of work to be done in reorganizing the worship space, marking out where you can sit and where you can (and can’t) walk, setting up sanitizers, and completing the vast array of forms that the government required us to complete. I am sure that others of you have done great work in other ways too. I am very grateful to you all.
Saturday 1st August is the Feast of St. Alphonsus Liguori, the patron saint (with Our Lady) of the Church in Lutterworth, so it is very fitting that we are able to reopen our Churches from that date. As I write these thoughts, I have been told that about half the available capacity may be used at Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus on Saturday evening and Sunday morning. More people may book a place on Friday. St. Pius X Church will likewise be about half full on Sunday morning, unless more people book a place; very few have booked for Saturday, though a few more have booked for Monday. I don’t know how well booking ahead has gone in Lutterworth for Tuesday and Thursday.
I think that the covid-19 capacity of both Churches is about 30 single people, though if couples or families book places, the actual capacity will rise above that figure.
Please be aware that it will be essential to book a place at Mass on every occasion that you wish to attend. Nobody will be allowed to attend who has not pre-booked. It is not permitted to book for every Sunday, or even for a number of weeks.
At Our Lady of Victories & St. Alphonsus:
Please ring (01455) – 554413 on the following days, and at these times:
Monday 3rd August between 9.30am and 10.30am or between 6pm and 7pm
Wednesday 5th August between 9.30am and 10.30am or between 6pm and 7pm
Friday 7th August between 9.30am and 10.30am or between 6pm and 7pm
These arrangements will change for future weeks. Further announcements will be made later.
Times of Mass:
- 5.30pm on Saturday 8th August;
- 11am on Sunday 9th August;
- 10.30am on Tuesday 11th August;
- 10.30am on Thursday 13th August.
At St. Pius X, Narborough:
You may book by email: [email protected] or by phone: (0116) – 2863676
at the following times on the following days:
- between 6pm and 7pm on Tuesday 4th August;
- between 6pm and 7pm on Thursday 6th August;
- between 10am and 11am & between 5pm and 6pm on Friday 7th August.
Times of Mass:
- 10am on Saturday 8th August;
- 10am on Sunday 9th August;
- 10am on Monday 10th August.
I am very grateful to those of both parishes who have volunteered to act as stewards or cleaners or both. The Churches would not be allowed to open for public Mass without you – so you are crucial to our success. Volunteers are also required to go on a ‘hoovering’ rota at St. Pius X. This is separate from the stewards & cleaners’ rota, and would be done when the Church is closed, so there would be no problem about ‘social distancing’. It also would not normally be necessary to dust the benches or attend to the toilets, because they would already have been disinfected. Please let me know if you are willing to be a ‘hooverer’.
The ‘Sunday Obligation’ remains suspended until further notice. The Bishops remind us that people who have been ‘shielding’, or who are caring for anyone who is extremely vulnerable, should not attend Church. Those who are ‘vulnerable’, including those who are over 70 years of age, should think carefully before attending, to make sure that they feel they can do so safely. Children younger than 16 years old, and persons who are physically disabled or who have learning difficulties, must not attend Church unless they are accompanied by a responsible adult, who will be expected to look after them and ensure that safe practice is maintained. Toilets will not normally be open.
When Attending Mass in any Catholic Church:
Face masks must be worn. Please ensure that you bring a face mask with you to wear.
When you arrive at Mass, a steward will check that you have pre-booked. You will be asked to sanitize your hands in the porch, and to wear your face mask. There is no holy water in the porch, and there will be no newsletter to take into Church.
If you have brought an offering for the parish collection, please put it into the box which will be available in the porch. The collection will not be taken during Mass in the usual way. There will also be a box in the porch for items for the foodbank or for Mary’s Meals.
A steward will show you where you can sit. Places are marked on the benches or chairs, to ensure that all persons keep a safe ‘social distance’. Families may sit together.
During Mass there will be no singing, though it is permitted for music to be played, and this may include recorded singing. Spoken responses are permitted.
The ‘sign of peace’ may not be exchanged with any physical contact. We will attempt to find an appropriate manner for exchanging the sign of peace which maintains ‘social distance’.
Holy Communion can only be received as the host, and must be received in the hand. There will be no ‘dialogue’ at that time. The chalice cannot be shared. Those receiving Holy Communion are requested to maintain the social distance in the line in the main aisle waiting to receive; and to come up to the line marked on the floor of the Church.
At the end of Mass, please do not stop in the porch. If you wish to talk to anyone, please wait until you are outside the Church building.
All these arrangements are provisional: we will have to see how well they work, and make adjustments as required.
Please pray for Carolina Johnson (Lutterworth) whose funeral service will be celebrated on Wednesday 12th August.
This week I will celebrate Mass in public at Our Lady of Victories and St. Alphonsus on Saturday 1st (5.30pm), Sunday 2nd (11am) and Tuesday 4th (10.30am). Father John Joe Maloney will celebrate Mass in public on Thursday 6th (10.30am). The intentions of these celebrations will be: Saturday the people of the parishes; Sunday for those parishioners, relations, and friends who have died; Tuesday Thomas Marr RIP; and Thursday in thanksgiving for answer to prayers.
This week I will celebrate Mass in public at St. Pius X Narborough at 10am on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday; and in private (the doors will not be open) at approximately 9am on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday; and at 8.30am on Thursday. The intentions of these celebrations will be: Saturday People of the Parishes; Sunday Maxwell Corby RIP; Monday Mary Smith RIP; Tuesday Peter & Miranda Hill RIP; Wednesday Fr. Anthony Conlon RIP; Thursday (The Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord) Fr. Stephan Foster RIP; Friday the people of the parish (Mass in time of pandemic); Saturday 10am Intentions of Peter Smith; next Sunday 10am Brenda O’Rourke RIP.
Please pray for Michael Maloney, Teresa Maugham, Debbie Bourke, Sheila Knight, Elizabeth Fullerton, Mary Dunne, Ranjit Mann, Juanita Zaman, (all parishioners or relatives of parishioners), and Father Michael Horrax (retired priest of this Diocese) who are seriously ill; and for Carolina Johnson, Elaine Smith, Mary Smith, and all who have died recently. Please let me know of any others who have died, or anyone who is ill and wishes to ask for prayers, so that I can add them to the list.
Recycling Textiles: If any of you are clearing out wardrobes and chests of drawers, or will be doing so at the end of the summer, remember that the parishes can earn money by recycling textiles. The firm we use will take clean clothes, shoes, handbags, belts, sheets and pillowcases, and curtains; but not duvets, pillows, or cushions. Any such items (bagged of course) can be left on the doorstep of the presbytery, 52 Leicester Road Narborough, for us to recycle. We have been paid 30p per kilogram.
Contributions to the parish funds: As I mentioned last week, I have received a directive from the diocese that all parishioners must be encouraged to make their contribution to the Church collection by standing order or electronic means if possible. I can provide the parish Bank details to anyone who would like to donate in that manner – many of you already do so (and I am very grateful indeed). I can provide standing order mandates for anyone who wishes – please just ask. As mentioned above, we will not be allowed to take the collection in the normal manner, but there will be a box at the door for contributions ‘on the day’. The collection then has to be bagged up securely for 72 hours before being counted, and counters have to wear masks and gloves.
I have just had my mobile phone ‘upgraded’ because I had let it go out of date (I’ve had it for 6 years). I had to ask a parishioner to deal with it for me. So please do continue to think of those members of our community who, like me, may not be ‘computer-savvy’ or those who do not have email, or perhaps may not have given me their email address. You are welcome to share these thoughts with anyone else who you feel may benefit from them or would like to read them. Please also continue to pass on to me any messages from them – including email addresses. I would very much like to reach as many members of our communities as possible, and if my thoughts are of any benefit to those who are not in our community, I would be delighted.
With best wishes to you all, and assuring you all of my prayers,