Letter from Fr John to parishioners regarding our response to Coronavirus Crisis.
the advice from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference on our website and recognise the need for each one of us to cooperate with the government guidelines and help to lessen the impact of this virus on our community.
Below I outline the
response I suggest for Good Shepherd Parish.
First Week: I intend to keep the church closed for the first week to highlight
our need to break existing habits and practise our intention of keeping our distance from one another and impose more self-isolation, even among those who feel well.
Mass: There are no public Masses being celebrated at Good Shepherd but Fr John will celebrate Mass, privately, each day behind closed doors. The Sunday obligation to attend Mass is lifted for now for all parishioners.
Live Streaming: those with internet access can find many churches where the Mass is streamed live. Check our diocesan website www.rcsouthwark.co.uk for a list of parishes who
Confession: is available by appointment with Fr John, and following hygiene and social distancing requirements.
First Holy Communions: cancelled for now. We will reschedule later in the year.
Baptisms/ Marriages: all scheduled events are now cancelled.
Speak with Fr John for advice.
Funerals: only graveside or crematorium services are allowed. Restrictions may apply to the numbers who can attend. Very limited numbers will
be allowed at crematoria.
Home Visits: no pastoral visits are allowed to those who are self-isolating with the virus. Also our weekly communion round is suspended as the
housebound are considered as vulnerable and in the category of those who are self-isolating. Telephone support will be offered.
Anointing of the Sick: emergency cases will,
by and large, be dealt with by hospital chaplains. In the parish setting if anyone is undergoing surgery or increased frailty then please do not hesitate to contact Fr John to come and administer the sacrament. Strike a balance between necessity and fear of
Your Spiritual Life: the suspension of Mass is our personal sacrifice and an act of charity towards the whole community as we place the needs of our community
before our own personal preferences. God has not gone away and if we explore our yearning for him during these ‘unfamiliar’ days, we may discover a new avenue of entering into a daily conversation.
Our Neighbours: the elderly or anyone living alone needs to be considered in our thinking. Do not look for someone else to be responsible for your neighbour. It’s acceptable in this crisis to offer your neighbour your telephone
number or a weekly call to see if they are in need of any help.
The Parish website: www.goodshepherdindownham.co.uk and the parish window panels will be used to communicate any updates.
20th March 2020