St Joseph's is Open for Mass & Private Prayer

The Carmelite Community welcomes you back to St Joseph's Church for Mass and very much looks forward to celebrating with our congregations again.

Whether you come for Mass or private prayer we ask those of you returning to follow the guidelines which are in place to keep everyone safe.  Please comply with existing social distancing and hand hygiene measures in addition to the new rule about face coverings whilst in the church setting.

I rejoiced when I heard them say: 'Let us go to God's house'
Psalm 121

Opening Times

***Rule of Six - Venues following COVID-19 secure guidelines will be able to continue to host more people in total - such as religious services in places of worship - but no one should visit in a group of greater than six people unless you all live together (or are in the same support bubble).***

We plan for the church to be open at the following designated times this week, which includes Rosary Circle for the first time since lockdown:

  • Saturday 12 September for 10am and 5:30pm Masses
  • Sunday 13 September for 9am, 11am and 5:30pm Masses
     
  • Monday 14 to Friday 18 September for 7am Mass
  • Tuesday 15 September from 7:30pm to 8pm for Rosary Circle
  • Wednesday 16 September for 9am Mass
  • Thursday 17 September for 9am Mass
  • Friday 18 September from 5:30pm to 6:30pm for Holy Hour
  • Saturday 19 September for 10am and 5:30pm Masses
  • Sunday 20 September for 9am, 11am and 5:30pm Masses

These times are subject to change as resources permit and circumstances evolve.

The WEARING OF FACE COVERINGS or FACE MASKS is now COMPULSORY in churches.  We ask that you plan in advance and bring a face covering with you – they are not provided.

If you or a member of your household are showing symptoms of Covid-19 you should not come into the church.

Preparations & Precautions

The church has been rearranged so as to implement social distancing of 2 metres/6 feet in all directions.  A temporary screen has been erected to clearly designate the space which is open to the public.  We have had a deep clean of the prayer space and it has also had an antiviral “fogging” treatment.  A regular cleaning regime is being followed, which includes disinfecting chairs, surfaces and touch points after every Mass or prayer session.  We are following the strict guidelines set out by the church and the authorities so as to minimise the risk of virus transmission.  This means that when you visit things will not be the same as before the pandemic.

What to Expect - Mass

The Carmelite Community has decided that places at Mass will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.  You do not need to book in advance.  There is no age limit or attendance restrictions, other than if you (or a member of your household) are showing symptoms of Covid-19 you should not come.  Likewise, if you are currently in quarantine following a visit to a country where restrictions apply.

The doors will open 10-15 minutes before Mass begins.  A maximum of 56 people can be accommodated in church in its current configuration; but this may be less depending on the number of individuals, couples, families, households or support bubbles that come.  When we reach maximum capacity (in terms of numbers or safe social distancing) no one else will be admitted.

Please bring a slip of paper with the name(s) and telephone number(s) of those attending from your household. This is required for Test and Trace and we are required to keep your details for 21 days.

Entry is via the side door on the car park side.

Upon arrival, you must put your details in the box provided and then sanitise your hands before entering the church.  Once inside, you must follow the one-way system.  Chairs have replaced pews so the body of the church looks very different.  Once seated please do not switch chairs.  Social distancing must be observed at all times.  Households who are not ‘linked’ should maintain social distancing during Mass.  Stewards will be on hand to guide you; please listen attentively and follow their instructions.  There is no holy water and veneration of statues is not permitted.

The toilets are closed.

Mass will be shorter, with no communal singing.  Holy Communion will be under one kind and distributed silently, in the hand, at the end of Mass.  There will be no individual blessings.  Please remain in your place until you are invited to come forward for Communion by the steward.  When you approach the priest or minister, your arms should be "at full stretch" so there is a good distance between you, and your palms, one on top of the other, should be extended as flatly as possible.  Once you receive Communion you must exit the church following the one-way system; you do not return to your seat.

At Sunday Masses offering envelopes or donations can be put in the metal box provided at the exit door.

You must sanitise your hands when you leave the church, exiting on to Priory side.  This means you will need to walk back around the church to the car park.

The obligation to attend Sunday Mass and receive Communion is still suspended. It may be that some people may prefer to attend Mass during the week when the church will be less busy.

What to Expect - Private Prayer and Holy Hour

This means an individual or a family (household group) coming into the church to pray on their own, socially distanced from anyone else present.

During Holy Hour the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed, however there will be no communal prayer, singing or Benediction.

Please bring a slip of paper with the name(s) and telephone number(s) of those attending from your household. This is required for Test and Trace and we are required to keep your details for 21 days.

Entry is via the side door on the car park side.

Upon arrival, you must sanitise your hands before entering the church.  Once inside, you are expected to follow the one-way system.  We have reconfigured the seating to comply with social distancing, but will not use all the chairs - please do not sit on one marked 'not in use'.  A maximum of 16 people plus stewards can be in the church at any one time.  If this capacity is reached, we will operate a "one in, one out" policy.  Social distancing of 2 metres/6 feet must be maintained at all times.  Physical veneration of statues is not permitted and there will be no holy water.  The toilet facilities are closed.

We understand that for many the lighting of votive candles is important so it will be possible to do so once you have finished prayer, on your way out.

You must sanitise your hands when you leave the church, exiting on to Priory side.  This means you will need to walk back around the church to the car park.

Stewards

Please listen to any guidance given by the stewards on duty and follow their instructions.  Their role is not only to unlock the door and welcome people – it is to ensure that the hygiene controls, social distancing measures and one-way system are adhered to, for the safety of all our visitors and our priests.

If you have limited mobility or require assistance whilst in church, please do make this known to the stewards who will be only too happy to help you.

We are aware of how important it is for our parish community to have a place to meet Jesus at this time.  We are not permitted to open our church without stewards.  Remember they are volunteers.

Volunteering to Help

Opening the church for MASSES depends on having sufficient STEWARDS.  Two stewards are needed for every weekday Mass and three stewards are needed for every Sunday Mass.  We cannot open the church to the public for anything without two stewards.

Those appointed need to be healthy individuals, under 70, who are not classed as vulnerable or shielding under Covid-19.  This is in accordance with government and diocesan guidelines in order to safeguard those who might be susceptible to serious illness should they catch this terrible virus.  At the moment this guidance extends to all church volunteers, not just stewards, so we are relying on our younger parishioners to come forward and help us.

Please email office@stjosephs.org.uk if you are able and willing to assist.

 

Read Bishop David’s words of welcome and see which other churches are open for private prayer.