Latest Updates on Covid19

The page below highlights the latest updates in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The safety of our community remains our priority and this means that not all churches have reopened straight away.  At present the Sunday obligation has been lifted until it is safe for us all to gather again and Masses continue to be livestreamed around the diocese.

More details relating to the latest updates on government and Bishops’ Conference guidelines, changes you will see in the Church to ensure your safety and the impact of Coronavirus on Liturgical events can be found below.  Click the drop down tabs for further information.

If you are looking for online resources and the Lord’s Day at Home sheet, please click here.

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

Latest Updates

Monday 17th May

As we move to the next step in the Roadmap out of Lockdown, we are aware that parts of our diocese are still experiencing high rates of Covid19. It is recommended that the limit of 30 attendees at funerals continues to be adhered to until further Government guidance on these areas is provided, and all parishes across the Diocese will continue to exercise caution.

Full guidance on Stage 3 of the Roadmap from the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales can be found here

How are we making our Churches Covid19 Secure?

We need to be mindful that our churches will look and feel different as they begin to reopen. These changes are essential to ensure the safety of all our people.

The video below illustrates what some of our churches may look like as they begin to open for private prayer. Churches are continuing to livestream Holy Mass.

What does this mean for Liturgical Events?

Some of our churches are beginning to reopen for public and private prayer, but liturgical events will continue to be impacted.  The following instruction is now given for the celebration of the Sacraments and sacramentals of the Church at this time.

Celebrations of Holy Mass

The celebration of Holy Mass is permitted at present, as long as Covid safety guidelines are adhered to. Face coverings much be worn in places of worship unless you are exempt. Holy Communion will continue to be under one kind and the minister will continue to wear a face covering.


The numbers of people permitted to attend life-cycle events such as baptisms, confirmations and other significant sacramental celebrations are subject to the covid-security determined limits of the church. Please contact your parish priest.

Sacrament of Reconciliation

Until now, the use of confessional boxes or rooms has been prohibited because of the risks of virus transmission. One of the most important aspects for the use of the confessional is the ventilation of the space between penitents. For closed confessionals or confessional rooms, there needs to be some form of assistance for a throughput of air. This can be having an open window or a fan to circulate air, or leaving the door open for a minute between each penitent. Between the penitent and the priest, a heavy curtain or other such material (Perspex or plastic film) should be fixed where the penitent kneels or sits against the grille. As risk from surface contact is reduced at this time, cleansing of the confessional on the penitent’s side is not needed after each confession, but the confessional should be cleaned after each session of use. If the confessional is a Roman Style, with the priest and penitent perpendicular to each other, the same covering of the grille
should be used to protect transmission through the grille itself. Again, the confessional should be cleaned after the period of confessions is complete.

First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion

30 people are permitted at a stand-alone celebration.


Please contact your parish priest if you have any questions.


30 people can attend a marriage.

If you have any questions, please contact your parish priest.

Anointing of the Sick

No pastoral visits should be made to people who are self-isolating with Covid 19 symptoms until the isolation period ends.  However, priests can offer phone support.

Please contact your Parish Priest to discuss how they can best offer support.

Visits to people in care homes or hospitals should follow advice from the staff on infection control.


If you need to arrange a funeral please contact your parish priest as soon as possible. The number of people who can attend a funeral is dependent on the covid-secure capacity of the Church. It is recommended that funerals in Bolton, Blackburn and Hyndburn are attended by a maximum of 30 people. Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble.

Contact details for parish priests can be found here

Full guidance from the Bishops’ Conference can be found here

Live Masses and Online Resources

Our parishes are continuing to livestream the Mass, giving you options if you cannot get into church yourself. You can find these on, along with the Cathedral from Salford Livestream, by clicking here.

We are continuing to compile resources for Catholics to access livestreaming of Masses, prayers and resources at home. The list of parishes continuing to stream Mass can be found here, and resources can be found by clicking here.

Bishop John has also produced a video series on how we can build a Church at Home. You can view these videos here.

Further Information and updates on the national situation

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