Doing things in a familiar way, with great hope and expectations – Fr Joe

Good news is always welcome and it has been great during the week to hear about the plan for reopening society as we learn to live with the residual of Covid. The expression ‘new normal’ is being used to describe how we will do things in a familiar way, with great hope and expectations, while remaining alert to public health and the well being of ourselves and others. Immense gratitude is felt for all in the medical and scientific world who have brought us to this point and to all who work in the community who have supported us during the past 18 months. At this time there are many priorities, to get young people back to school and college, to get business working again, to restore the activities in the community that we all depend on.

For the parish and for the whole church this is also a time of finding our way into this new normal. On the one hand are the practical adjustments and adaptations to accommodate congregations and gatherings at 50% capacity and then a month later the return to full congregations, singing etc. To keep it simple from Sept 6th we will close off every second bench and set the capacity of the church at around 300. We will begin to return to the usual mass collections and use of leaflets. Hand sanitiser will continue to be available and mask-wearing will continue according to health guidance. Our priority is to have safe, comfortable gatherings will full participation in the liturgy. Of course, we don’t know how quickly parishioners will want to return to Mass and we have to hope that the space available will meet this demand. By the end of October, we will see the end of restrictions and guidelines and be fully active once again.

Soon the parish centre will be able to offer normal services, meetings can resume and ministries can be refreshed and renewed.

There is a backlog of sacraments waiting to be rescheduled which has to be undertaken alongside the usual daily masses and funerals. We are actively working with schools and parents to find days and times for all these postponed celebrations.

This is a demanding time for all parish staff, and the priests, so your support and patience will also be greatly needed and much appreciated.

Thanks to all who participated in Fr Tony’s anniversary last weekend and to those who contributed to the Haiti school project in his memory.

The Season of Creation began on Sept 1st and there will be many ways in the next 6 weeks to reflect together on the earth as our common home and the needs of the poor.