On Sunday 5th July we will once again open our doors for public worship!
Dear sisters and brothers,
“I rejoiced when I heard them say, let us go to the house of the Lord”.
For the past sixteen weeks you have been, in essence, locked out of your Church and unable to have access to the Sacraments. I know for many of you this has been a deep and real spiritual deprivation. You have faithfully followed online as Mass has been broadcast daily, joined in with Zoom acts of worship, prayed at home, and no doubt, found other ways to worship God at this time.
I am delighted to finally say that this Sunday we can, once again gather for Mass as a congregation. I have been awaiting Government and Church advice (and am very glad to those who have worked so hard to ensure it came) and can now introduce our plans.
This Sunday (5th of July) public Masses will return, and you are very welcome to come to Church. There will be two Masses – Said at 9am and 10am Sung Mass with organ.
Inevitably there have had to be some changes and precautions taken.
- On entry please ensure you sanitise your hands using the automatic sanitiser above the holy water stoop (put your hands under it and it will squirt!
- Please arrive in good time. We don’t want a mad rush at two minutes to ten! Please be prepare to socially distance and wait as the Sidesmen ensure you are safely seated.
- Rows are closed off and seating is distanced. This means your favourite pew may not be available. Please follow the directions of the sidesmen who will ensure you are seated safely.
- Booklets will be single use only. Please take them away. If you have a smartphone or tablet there is a QR code you can tap that will take you to an online version of the booklet. Reading sheets can be downloaded here
- There will be no singing of hymns. The 10am Mass will have organ and a cantor singing. Mass will be a little shorter with no Intercessions.
- The peace will not be shared.
- Communion will be in one kind only (the host). Rather than at the normal point this will happen at the very end of Mass after the blessing. Communicants will be invited up and receive the host on their hands before leaving the Church by the door on the right (by the organ).
- There will be a plate out for collections although we do encourage people to think about giving by the card machine or standing order.
If this seems a lot, don’t worry – we will guide you through it. We have been thinking very hard about how to implement the guidelines and to try and make the Mass as safe as possible.
The weekday Mass will be returning to its normal times. We will alternate the chapels to assist with cleaning and safety on a daily basis.
Please let me stress, if you are showing the symptoms of Covid-19 you must not come to Church! Those who are shielding or in the extremely vulnerable categories will be fully aware that there is a level of risk we cannot mitigate against, nevertheless the Bishops’ guidance has been clear that it is up to the individual as to what they choose to do with regards to attending Mass. I fully realise some of you may be worried about larger number at the 10am Sunday Mass. If this is the case then you may find a quieter weekday Mass a better option. It is worth noting that at this time the obligation of attendance has been lifted and I fully understand some of you will not feel safe coming out at this time. I also want to stress that it is my intention that we continue to livecast Masses going forward.
Whilst there is still a lot we are unable to do, coffee, social events etc, this is one of the steps on our return top normality. I look forward to welcoming a very many of you on Sunday and through the week
After Mass we will continue with our Zoom coffee cat 11.15am- Once Mass has finished and Church sorted. Please pop in and chat with your friends and catch up.If you have not done this before then why not give it a try?
The Church continues to be open for private prayer and will open at 8am – 6pm Mon – Fri, 9am -6pm on Sat, and 8.45am -6pm on Sun.
On Monday and Friday the Blessed Sacrament will be exposed on the altar for private prayer between 10.30-11.30am = This is not a service and no words will be spoken, just a point for silent eucharistic adoration. Please come and pray in Church during these times. Just to be before Our Lord in his Sacrament is a wonderful thing.
This is a day we have been waiting for – it is glorious that this process is now beginning.
Your parish priest
St John the Baptist, Sevenoaks
The Clergy House
62 Quakers Hall Lane
01732 451 710