As you will no doubt be aware, the FIRST MINISTER announced last week that social distancing will no longer be required from Monday 9 August.
In a letter sent by email to all parishes by the Vice-Chancellor of the Archdiocese, Canon Paul Gargaro states:
“As you will have seen, the First Minister announced today that social distancing indoors will end from Monday 9th August. This means that after this date there will be no obligation to keep 1m distance between household groups and so churches and halls can return to their normal capacity. I’m sure we will all be glad to get back to the normal use of our churches.
This will have huge and positive impact for us in St. Matthew’s, meaning that from the first time since the church re-opened after extensive rebuilding, we an use it to its full potential.
So, from Monday there will be no social distancing required in the church, although masks will still need to be worn while in the church building.
In practice this will also mean that there will be less need to book a place in church HOWEVER trace and track regulations still pertain, so you will be asked to leave your name and contact phone number for purposes of TRACE AND TRACK
There is now no mandatory distance to be kept between people, but PLEASE DO EXERCISE ALL CONSIDERATION FOR FELLOR PARISHIONERS. REMEMBER SOME MAY BE COMING INTO THE CHURCH FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE COVID-19 CAME AMONG US, SO DO LEAVE A SPACE BETWEEN PEOPLE WHEN THERE IS ROOM TO DO SO.
FROM NEXT WEEKEND, SUNDAY MASSES WILL BE AS THEY HAVE FOR SOME TIME – 9.30 AM AND 11 AM. THERE WILL BE NO VIGIL MASS RATHER, UNTIL WE CAN BE CERTAIN THAT WE HAVE ENOUGH STEWARDS – A MINIMUM OF 4 STEWARDS (PREFERABLY 6) ARE REQUIRED FOR EACH MASS. FOR THE SAME REASON, THE 12.15pm MASS WILL NOT BE REINSTATED UNTIL WE CAN BE CERTAIN OF THE REQUIRED NUMBER OF STEWARDS.
THE SACRAMANET OF RECONCILIATION IS AVAILABLE, BUT CURRENT;Y CONFESSIONALS CANOT BE USED. ANYONE SEEKIBNG THER SACRAMENTOF RECONCILIATION SHOULD ASK Fr. HILL, AND WE WILL GO TO A SECLUDED SPOT OUTSIDE THE BUILDING
THIS IS AN APPROPRIATE PLACE FOR ME TO RECORD MY OWN SINCERE AND MOST GRATEFUL THANKS TO ALL WHO HAVE FAITHFULLY TURNOUT OUT FOR DUTY ALL THROUGH THE PANDEMIC, AND WHO HAVE WORKED SO HARD TO MAKE COMING TO ST.MATTHEW’S A SAFE, CLEAN AND PLEASANT EXPERIENCE.
WATCH THIS SPACE FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION, KEEP WELL YOURSELVES AND TRY TO ENSURE THAT WE MAKE IT POSSIBLE FOR ALL OF US TO STAY SAFE AND WELL!!!
Canon Robert J. Hill, Parish Priest