Guidance for Parishioners attending Mass in our churches
(last update 13th September 2021)
Below is a full guidance about behaviour in our churches and before, during and after visits.
For latest updates just read our NEWSLETTER. You can open the latest newsletter using the link at the top of this page.
The wearing of Face coverings is highly recommended when you visit our churches. Thank you.
To ease concerns regarding overcrowding, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales have maintained the dispensation for the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of obligation. If they can, Mass goers are invited to attend during the week rather than busy Sunday mornings.
Guidance on choosing which Mass to attend
• If you do not work during the week please try to attend one of the weekday Masses.
• No one is to set out to Mass if they have any of the symptoms of Covid-19 such as a fever, a sore throat, a cough or a loss of a sense of taste or smell.
• When you arrive at the church entrance please be prepared to find that a steward may refuse you entry if the congregation is already at the maximum permitted capacity.
• You might be asked whether you or any within your household or “social bubble” have any Covid-19 symptoms.
• In the Narthex please use the hand sanitiser provided.
• The interior of the church will have been thoroughly cleaned before and after each Mass and any other service. As far as possible please avoid touching surfaces inside the building.
• You are highly encouraged to adhere to the ‘Track and Trace’ strategy, by providing at each visit your details, either by including your name and contact number in the book provided or by clicking on the NHS app QR code. This is so we know who is at each Mass and you can be contacted if someone attending that Mass is later found to be infected with Covid-19.
• Please avoid moving around the church and do not spend much time by the candle stands. If you would like to light a candle, do it before you go to your seat.
• Inside the church follow the one-way system highlighted on the floor by arrows.
• Please do not touch statues and do not step on the sanctuary or any other room attached to the church.
• The side rooms at OLG will not be available.
• Remain by your seat when you stand or kneel.
• The seating area will be just bare wooden pews (at St Wulstan’s) and plastic chairs (at Our Lady of Grace). If you need a cushion, please bring one from home. At Our Lady’s your cushion could be used as a kneeler too.
• The assembly is now permitted to sing as long as they are wearing masks.
• Please be patient and cooperate with guidance from stewards and the Priest who will be acting to protect the safety of everyone.
Liturgy of the Word
• The reader will be supplied with single-use gloves and should avoid touching the microphone or the Lectionary, apart for page turning.
Mass continues normally
• There will be no procession of the gifts.
• The collection at the Preparation of the Gifts on Sundays will resume.
Liturgy of the Eucharist
• There will be no exchange of the Sign of Peace so the congregation will say together the Lamb of God.
• The Priest will receive Communion as usual. Then, the Deacon or extraordinary minister and the whole congregation will receive Communion.
• Communion will be only under one kind.
• Communion will be distributed from the Sanctuary. People will have to process to the foot of the Sanctuary in a single queue and leave some space. Then they will go to the respective minister, whether they are on the left or right of the church. The Priest, Deacon or Extraordinary Minister will say: “The Body of Christ!”, to which the individual communicant will reply: “Amen!”
Wait for the Priest or for the extraordinary minister to put the Sacred Host on your hand before you pick it up and bring it to your mouth. Consume any little pieces that might be still on your hand, before kneeling or sitting down.
Our Diocesan H&S advisors recommend that Communion must be given in the hand only – if absolutely essential to provide on the tongue and subject to local risk assessment. Therefore, if it is absolutely essential for someone to receive on the tongue, they must go to the parish priest only at the very end of communion. And in case of communion on the tongue, the minister should sanitise hands after each communicant.
• Please do not set off to light candles at this stage.
• IMPORTANT: At the end of Mass, please leave the church in an orderly fashion respecting social distancing.
• Spend as little time as possible inside the church and please respect social distancing as you leave.
• Leave by the door you used on your way in.
• Sanitise your hands using the sanitiser provided by the exit door.
• Please, if you can, help our stewards to sanitise the church after Mass.