January 14, 2021
Reluctantly I have come to the decision to close our church for the time being from Friday January 15th because we are not able to ensure the required level of safety during this period of the coronavirus. It’s a decision that was made in consultation with Bishop Richard and with many others, most of whom have been urging me to close since the current lockdown began. My heart is torn with this and it is a decision that no priest wants to make but it is for the health and safety of the whole community.
The recent changes in my own ministry have also brought home to me more clearly the seriousness of the situation. Anointing people who have the virus is profoundly inspiring and an essential ministry but I do have concerns that my contact with them could be a source of risk for parishioners. For now, the ministry to the sick and the dying, whether they be in their own home, in hospital or care homes, is a priority. Two days ago, I was called to the Conquest to anoint a woman who had the virus. She has since died and it has meant the world to her family that she had a priest with her near the end. May she rest in peace.
I am grateful for all those who have worked so hard over the past year to keep our church safe and I urge everyone to accept the seriousness of the situation and the responsibilities we have towards each other as Catholic Christians.
Masses will continue to be recorded and posted on YouTube, facebook and the parish website. The situation will be kept under review and we will open again as soon as possible.
Know that you are all held with love in my heart and in my prayers. God bless you.