Latest Updates on Covid19

10th December

Following the statement by the Prime Minister on Wednesday 9th December, there has been a Government directive that further restrictions to mitigate against viral transmission, especially in the light of the new Omicron variant, will be imposed.

Face Coverings

From Friday 10th December, face coverings will be required by law in most indoor settings. This includes in Places of Worship. However, there will be exemptions for those leading worship, public proclamation of scriptural readings or prayers, and those who are exempt.

Singing

The current Church guidance states that congregational singing should take place with face coverings in place and choirs and soloists may sing without such coverings.

Practical Guidance for Churches

With respect to the current situation with the Omicron variant it is important to ensure the following points are followed in our churches:
• That people displaying any symptoms of covid-19 should stay at home and not travel to church or participate in person.
• That hand sanitiser is available to those attending the Church.
• Face coverings must be worn by those attending public acts of worship unless there is a genuine exemption or the person is leading worship or participating in a role that requires the mask to be removed for a period of time.
• That there is good ventilation and air throughput in the building; please wrap up well in church!

Those taking the Eucharist to the housebound, sick and vulnerable, should take regular lateral flow tests to ensure they are safe to do so. These are free from the NHS.

NHS Covid Passes 

The requirements for NHS Covid passes will not apply to places of worship and the acts of worship associated with them. However, any social gatherings linked to events in churches will need to comply with new requirements but only when 500 or more people are involved.

Clarification on the Sunday Obligation

The Bishops’ Statement Honouring Sunday reflected the pastoral situation of public worship in the light of the pandemic situation at this time. The Bishops have asked for all Catholics to reflect on their personal circumstances with respect to their attendance at public worship.

The Bishops, now having reflected on the current situation in England and Wales, recognise that the causes and effects of the pandemic are still present to such a degree that the absolute duty for all to freely attend the Sunday Eucharistic Celebration cannot yet be fulfilled.

As such, they have asked that all Catholics now reflect on the centrality of the Eucharist to their own life of faith and take into consideration their personal circumstances and the reasons as to whether they can now attend the Sunday Eucharistic Celebration or otherwise. Should a person feel that grave cause honestly persists in their personal circumstances, there is no sin associated with their non-attendance at Mass, and they are encouraged to devote themselves to prayer at home. This may be achieved either through personal prayer or by participating with a live-streamed celebration of Mass from a Church.

To help with this you can find the live stream from Salford Cathedral here. Bishop John has also produced a video series on how we can build a Church at Home. You can view these videos here.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Parish Priests and volunteers for all their hard work in keeping our churches safe and open over the last few months.

Bishop John has urged anyone reluctant to come forward to receive the vaccine.

He said:

“All adults, who are able to do so, should be vaccinated. Pope Francis has reminded people of the duty to be vaccinated if they are able. The Church is clear that all Catholics can take any of the vaccines on offer with a clear conscience. Even if you are at a low risk of becoming seriously ill, being vaccinated will lower the risk of transmitting the virus to somebody else who might then have a severe reaction or even die. It is particularly important that those in our parishes, clergy and lay-people who visit those who are housebound or otherwise vulnerable are vaccinated.”

If you have any further queries, you can find the contact details of your parish priest by clicking here 

The Coronavirus pandemic continues to be a rapidly evolving situation. The latest national updates can be found on the Gov.uk website