Thankfully we are now returning to something which more closely resembles normality! Thanks to our stewards, almost al of whom have been present at every Mass, our parishioners have kept safe and well. We cannot thank these volunteers enough – two Sunday Masses each week, and 10.00 am Mass each weekday have been stewarded and the church sanitised after each Mass and this has meant that to date we have had no indication of anyone having contracted Covid, or have brought Covid into the church. This is an amazing feat, but not one that should make us complacent. There is still a long way to go, and we still need to follow the regulations faithfully and thoroughly. To do this effectively, we need more stewards. The equation is simple – sufficient stewards mean we can have Mass in a safe environment. No stewards mean no Mass – it’s as simple as that

Some people have been asking when we will have more Masses. The answer is simple – when we can identify enough people who will act as stewards. I would be very happy to reinstate the Saturday evening Vigil Mass, BUT NOT UNTIL WE CAN BE SURE THAT WE CAN RELY ON SUFFICIENT NUMBERS OF STEWARDS!

This factor has consequences for Christmas and other occasions. For example, we will not have Midnight Mass if insufficient stewards are available.

Please do not wait to be asked. If you think you can help, ask one of the stewards, and we can arrange quick safeguarding clearance and a quick training session.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE ASK ONE OF THE STEWARDS ON DUTY

Latest updates on use of churches and other public buildings, effective  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 FELLOW 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 WE HAVE THE REQUIRED NUMBER OF STEWARDS.

THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION IS AVAILABLE, BUT CURRENTLY CONFESSIONALS CANNOT BE USED. ANYONE SEEKING THE 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 SPIRITUALLY UPLIFTING 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!!!

When the ‘new-look’ church opened, we found its layout perfect for helping us keep the sacramental and devotional life of the church  intact, within, of course, restrictions imposed, but we have celebrated everything in the Church’s year:-

1st Communion and Confirmation with our young people,

Weddings are now being scheduled for St. Matthew’s in its new splendour, and from the 18 April of this year, we have had baptisms on every Sunday!

Sadly, funerals have figured on the list of our liturgical events.

None of the above celebrations and other events could have taken place without a highly dedicated team of stewards who initially booked in people wanting to attend Mass – remember Eventbrite! and its joys?– Without these stewards, we would have had to cancel celebrations including Mass. Thanks to our stewards, this had not happened. Stewarding is essential, and we constantly need a supply of people to volunteer to be stewards After safeguarding checks and some basic training, stewards will be able to add to the pool of volunteers. REMEMBER – NO STEWARDS, NO MASS! Please think hard about volunteering for this. Your commitment will be most welcome no matter how limited your availability. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE ASK ONE OF THE STEWARDS ON DUTY

Thank you

Canon Robert J. Hill, Parish Priest

ST MATTHEW’S AND THE PANDEMIC

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