In common with the other bishops of England and Wales, Bishop Declan has issued a decree in light of the current Covid-19 situation. Within this decree it is clear that:
The obligation of the faithful to attend Mass on a Sunday or Holy Day of Obligation is removed until further notice.
All churches and chapels, as well as other places where regular Sunday and weekday public Masses are celebrated, are to suspend all public Masses.
The faithful may choose one of the following alternatives to attending Sunday Mass:
Taking part may include watching a Sunday Mass online, or on television, and so receive Holy Communion spiritually; OR
Reflecting on the Sunday Liturgical text, reading the Bible or saying the Rosary
Although it was hoped that churches could remain open for private prayer, following the Prime Minister's statement on 23rd March, all churches in the diocese are to remain closed until further notice.
A possible form of prayer for use when Mass cannot be publicly celebrated can be found at https://www.cbcew.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2020/03/No-Mass-A4.pdf.
Sunday and daily Mass readings can be found at https://www.universalis.com/mass.htm. Sunday Mass and weekday Mass from Clifton Cathedral is available every day at 9:30am on our diocesan website www.cliftondiocese.com. Other Masses & Celebrations can be found at www.churchservices.tv/. Other Celebrations including some of those from Rome can be viewed at www.cbcew.org.uk. Celebrations from Rome can also be found on ‘Vatican Media Live’ on YouTube.
Father Gary will be offering Mass privately during this time as ‘the continued celebration of Mass ensures that the faithful can join in spiritual communion with the priests of the church.’ Requested Mass intentions will continue to be offered, generally on or near to the dates requested
While the parish administration continues, access to the parish office is restricted to appointment only. For those matters normally dealt with by the parish office please use the parish email or telephone 0784 249 5988 (Tuesday to Friday 10:00am – 3:00pm). The normal parish telephone number should be used to contact Father Gary.
All parish groups and programmes are suspended until further notice.
There will continue to be a weekly newsletter available on the parish website. Please make the details of the newsletter known to those who may not access the website.
First Holy Communion and Confirmation: The First Holy Communion programme is suspended until further notice. At this time, it is uncertain whether it will be possible to celebrate the First Holy Communion Mass on 27th June. Similarly, it is uncertain whether the Confirmation Mass planned for Thursday 11th June will be possible. When conditions allow both programmes will be re-planned.
Prayer is always important. Even when we cannot be physically close, prayer unites us. As well as traditional prayers known to us there are also resources online: www.prayasyougo.org offers daily meditative prayer which some may find useful. Some in Stroud are committing to praying the rosary each Tuesday morning at 11:00am.
Baptisms and Marriages cannot take place in the usual way at this time. In any emergency contact Father Gary or Deacon Steve.
Funerals, according to present regulations, ‘should take place at either the graveside or crematorium, subject to the conditions laid down by the cemetery or cremation authorities. Arrangements should be made for a Mass in memoriam when congregations are allowed to gather safely’.
Pastoral Visits by clergy or lay people cannot take place in the normal way at present. Father Gary is happy to speak with people by telephone.
Please speak with Father Gary regarding any other aspects of parish life or Sacramental celebration.
Some people have enquired regarding parish finances during this period, and how to contribute to the parish without the weekly collection. This is important as although our churches are closed for public worship, our parish continues to function and expenses continue to be incurred. Those who currently do not contribute via standing order and who would like to continue to support the parish financially during this time can use one of the following methods:
Set up a standing order via online banking. Please contact the parish for the necessary details.
Donate via the ‘Paypal’ button on the parish website. Donations can be gift-aided if applicable. You do not need your own paypal account to use this service. We believe that the cost to the parish for donating in this way is 1.4% and 20p per donation.
Send a cheque to the parish office (although these may not be presented to the bank for some weeks).
Wait until public Masses resume, although we have no indication of when this may be.
These methods are for donations to the parish. They are not for second collections, which will be postponed at present, nor for Father Gary’s Easter Offering.