Update on the Opening of Churches from Fr Zielinski

Roger EleyNews

Dear Parishioners,
I hope you are keeping well. St Augustine’s is now open for Mass twice a week, on Sundays and Wednesdays, both at 10.00 am.
The Church is safe for you to return ands we look forward to welcoming you back to Mass.
Please book your place(s) on the dedicated mobile number given on the parish bulletin (07734 190574) . Bruce Turnbull will be pleased to take your call and advise you. When you come to church you must wear a face mask.
If you wish to go to Confession, please make an appointment with me by email or phone. I will try to be available most Friday mornings around 11 am, but can be flexible for those who are working.
The task of going around the whole of the diocese to risk-assess churches is a huge one, and it is taking time to get around all the churches.
I am hopeful that in the next few weeks we may be given a date for St Anne’s church to be inspected, and then an official risk assessment report can be issued to me by the diocese.
No church can open until there are sufficient volunteers to clean the church after every service, including funeral services, and to have at least two, preferably three or four stewards at every service, including funeral services, in order to direct people to their places in church, and ensure that the 2 metre spacing is maintained, and that hand sanitizing and face masks are observed by all present.
This arrangement (protocol) may well extend far into next year, and so it requires a high degree of commitment from the volunteers, because they will have to be available, as and when required. With sufficient numbers of volunteers, the load can be spread through a Rota System, which one of the volunteers needs to take responsibility for.
Someone will be needed to take phone calls, so that people can book places for Mass, using a dedicated mobile phone number. The list of those who attend must be kept by the parish priest for 21 days, and then it is destroyed. The list will show each person’s full name and contact telephone number, so that they can be quickly contacted to self-isolate, should there be an outbreak of infection.
This is the new normal for these challenging times. But all the trouble is worth it, in order to be able to celebrate the Eucharist once again after a long absence, and to receive holy Communion.
I would like to thank once again everybody who has volunteered or is offering to volunteer.
If you wish to volunteer, please contact me by email or phone, and I will send you a form to fill out, as a first step, to register your Interest in wanting to Volunteer for this. This will be processed according to the Safe Recruiting Guidelines of the Diocese.
With best wishes and blessings,
Father Paul.

Stewards Required – Guidelines on the Re-Opening of Churches

Roger EleyNews

The Diocese have issued an updated booklet for the re-opening of churches. Click here to download.

Ultimately the decision on opening of St Anne’s or any church will made by the Diocese. We at St Anne’s however still need volunteers to act as Stewards as and when we re-open and until we get adequate numbers the church will not be considered for re-opening. The requirements needed to fulfil this role are with the updated booklet.

If you are able to carry out this role please contact Fr Paul at St Augustine’s 0191 4693042 or by email pjzduke48@gmail.com.

Further News on the Opening of Churches

Roger EleyNews

Dear Parishioners,
I hope you are all still safe and well as the country continues to open up and as our churches take small steps in re-opening safely.
During the week, St Augustine’s church was inspected and the volunteers told what is involved before and when we open. We discovered that a great deal is asked of the cleaners and the stewards.  We found ourselves on a learning curve!  Things will not go back to normal until there is a vaccine. We are in the new normal, and there are significant restrictions on both the priest and the people by the protocols for Public Health and Safety during the Covid19 pandemic. Every church is an enclosed space – especially St Anne’s which has a low ceiling and has limited ventilation.  People in the congregation are from different households. There lies the potential dangers of infection from the Virus.
We can see already that the availability of the cleaners and stewards (days and times) will determine when and how often the church can be open for services.
We will take small steps carefully and safely, and learn along the way how to live and worship in this new normal. The new normal is not ideal. It is not what we want as priests or as parish communities. But we need to remember that the obligation of attending Sunday Mass is still suspended and will remain so, until we have defeated this Virus.
One thing to consider: it may be better for some parishioners to attend Mass on a weekday, if they can, and make room for others (especially workers) on a Sunday, because of the limited space in church.
Anecdotally, speaking to parish priests there is the impression around the diocese that people are still cautious about coming back into church and the numbers attending Mass are quite small, not reaching the maximum occupancy allowed in some cases.
For Funeral Services the maximum number allowed in church according to the most recent guidance from the diocese is 30 persons, or a smaller number, if the maximum occupancy of the church is below 30. The congregation should be limited to close family.
If you are a St Anne’s parishioner or a St Augustine’s parishioner, I would be glad to hear that you are able to offer your help, either as a cleaner or a steward, so that the burden can be shared out on a Rota.
Please email me, if you can help at pjz48duke@gmail.com
With best wishes and blessings,
Father Paul Zielinski

Latest Guidance for Acts of Worship

Roger EleyNews

Now we are able to celebrate mass at a limited number of churches. Cannon Christopher Thomas has issued a set of guidelines we will have to follow titled Guidance for the Celebration of Mass. Please read carefully before attending mass. Click here to download.

Letter from Father Paul

Roger EleyNews

Dear Parishioners, hope you are all keeping safe and well.
Just a few updates for you:-
(1) The painting of the exterior woodwork of St Anne’s Church has now been completed. Also some trimming of hedges and a tidy-up at the rear of the church has also been carried. The two signs for church and hall have been refurbished. Shortly, gates will be fitted to the entrance from Rokeby View, and these will remain locked apart from Sunday mornings, Holy Days of obligation and other services, such as Funerals. This will mean that the church car park will not be a through-road for traffic, that has caused considerable damage to the tarmac over the years and will be costly to repair.
2) St Augustine’s has had some interior paintwork carried out, where water ingress and some flaking has taken place. Two old cherries trees at the front have been removed for safety reasons, and a tree stump in the lawn in front of the Presbytery has been removed and the lawn replaced.
All the carpets in the main body of the church and in the Narthex have been shampooed and cleaned, removing a lot of dirt and stains built up over the years.
The wood floor around our Lady’s altar has been re-varnished and sealed, and nearby the Book of the Gospels used by the Deacon on Sundays is now left open on a special lectern, showing the previous Sunday’s reading. So, as well as lighting a candle, people can also have a read and be reminded of the words of Jesus or his healing miracles that he performed to show that the Kingdom of God was near, and also  be reminded how the Word became flesh in the womb of Mary, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Once again, thank you for keeping me in your prayers during these weeks of lockdown, and also for any donations that you have been able to offer (in cash or direct through your bank) for the UpKeep of your church during these challenging times, and for the support of your priest.
Thank you also for any Mass Intentions and Mass Offerings that you have been able to send me, which is always a personal and direct support to a priest in his daily ministry.
God will reward you for your generosity and support!
With best wishes and blessings,
Father Paul.

Day of Life

Roger EleyNews

This Sunday is the annual Day for Life. In these challenging times please read the leaflet by clicking dayoflife

Good Shepherd Sunday – World Day of Prayer for Vocations

Roger EleyNews

The following message is from Father Paul

Dear Friends and Parishioners,

You may find this link useful for next Sunday – Good Shepherd Sunday. If we want more priests in the future, we have to start by praying for them to be given to us by our Lord, the Good Shepherd. It is his flock and he will provide the shepherds and pastors, there is no doubt about that. But we have to play our part too with prayer. The Patroness of our Diocese is the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so the Rosary, especially in the Mary’s month – May, should be very efficacious.

Follow the link http://www.rcdhn.org.uk leading to the Diocese website with a download for Vocations Sunday

Live Streaming of Masses

Roger EleyNews

Dear Friends and Parishioners,

The Bishops of England and Wales have agreed that every Thursday evening at 7 pm a bishop in turn, will celebrate a live streamed Mass in his Cathedral for all those frontline workers in the NHS and care homes, for the sick and their families and for the repose of the souls of the deceased.
This will begin next Thursday in Westminster Cathedral.

Our own bishop Robert Byrne, will be celebrating Mass in our Cathedral on 14th May.
The bishops has asked us priests to say Mass for this intention each Thursday, if that is possible.

You may be interested to know that there is an online eight day retreat, given by Mgr John Armitage, the Rector of the Shrine of our Lady in Walsingham.
The retreat starts this evening and there are daily conferences at 10am and 4pm.
Just go the Walsingham Website: www.walsingham.org.uk

With best wishes and blessing,
Father Paul

For further details follow the links National Masses and Walsingham Retreat

Focus on Sunday Leaflet

Roger EleyNews

Whilst we are unable to attend Mass during the Coronavirus we have been given access to the Focus on Sunday weekly leaflet.

The issue for Easter Sunday is on the Bulletin section of the website. Have a look.