Update 8th January 2021
PUBLIC CELEBRATION OF MASS IN WELWYN GARDEN CITY
Although we are now back in lockdown, public celebration of Mass will continue as before. See schedule in update of 29th November 2020 below.
The new strain of coronavirus is a worry and we still want to ensure the safety of all coming to church and of our stewards. Here are some extra changes we have made in our churches:
1. Creating greater distance between people in the pews.
2. Having more protection for the stewards by them being behind a table as people arrive and as they leave.
3. The distribution of Holy Communion will be more measured, with distancing between the ‘bubbles’ that come up.
4. It is even more important for people arriving at the doors of the church to keep extra space between them and those in front and those behind.
5. Socialising outside the church before or after Mass should NOT happen for everyone’s well-being and safety.
6. Church heaters will switch off 5 minutes before Mass begins and more ventilation will be absolutely necessary.
Update 29th November 2020
PUBLIC CELEBRATION OF MASS IN WELWYN GARDEN CITY
Mass will start again Thursday 3rd December 2020 and follow the schedule which has been in operation since first lockdown. Our aim is to accommodate as many people as possible in church safely following all the regulations with Sanitising, distancing and so on. Sadly, this means we still are not in a position to celebrate Mass in St. Bonaventure's. Bishop Paul McAleenan celebrates Mass every day in St. Bonaventure's, so it is being used for sacred worship.
|Day of Week||Time||Location|
|Wednesday||No Masses||No Masses|
As you arrive there are stewards outside to make sure people respect distancing and to take contact details (name and phone number which will be held securely for 21 days). For those who have downloaded the Government Covid-19 app, please use the QR Code which has been created (one for each church). Stewards sanitise hands on entry. Face masks are mandatory. More stewards lead you to places. People must sit in their ‘bubbles’, that is as couples, families or households. We have single chairs for individuals. We ask that you only sit or stand in your place and do not use the kneeler.
Once the church has reached its capacity, we are not be allowed to admit any more. Parents are asked to keep a watchful eye on their children at all times. Remember toilets are not available. There are no Mass-books or printed newsletters. You do not have to ‘book’ to come, but please arrive EARLY!
The structure of the Mass has been simplified so that people are not in an enclosed place for longer than 30 minutes: no singing or music, no 2nd Reading or Bidding Prayers, no Gloria or Creed, no collection, Offertory procession or Sign of Peace, no Communion from the Chalice, no altar servers, no lighting of votive candles. At the time of Holy Communion, the priest says to the whole congregation ‘The Body of Christ’ to which you all respond ‘Amen’. Only the priest receives at that point. After the Blessing and Dismissal, stewards guide people from their benches to the front of the sanctuary, keeping distance at all times. Those who wish to receive Holy Communion may only receive in the hand with no words uttered by priest or communicant and then you leave the church - in Holy Family by the doors either side of the sanctuary, and in Our Lady’s by the side door on the left and by the ‘Holy Door’ at the back on the right. Even those not receiving Holy Communion must follow this flow. As you exit the church, the stewards sanitise your hands. We have been reminded by our Bishops that people should not gather outside church in a social way before or after Mass as this may be a source of further contagion. We ask you to respect the stewards who are your fellow parishioners and are doing their best to facilitate the whole process.
Only the priest prepares the vessels for Mass and the ciboria (with hosts) have their lids on until Holy Communion is distributed at the end. After each Mass the stewards sanitise everything which has had human contact and prepare the church for the next Mass. Any property left behind has to be disposed of. We have purchased masks, plastic aprons and gloves for stewards/cleaners as well as sufficient sanitising and cleaning materials.
Some of you may not feel ready to return because of health issues or because you care for someone who is vulnerable. Others might still be afraid and this is totally understandable.
If you think you have the virus, please do NOT come and put others at risk. COVID 19 symptoms: a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature), a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual), a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.
WE CALL OUR STEWARDS BACK INTO ACTION!! Their ministry has made such a difference and we will continue to need their service.
On the days when public Mass is celebrated, Fr. Tony and Fr. Norbert will NOT be able to hear Confessions before or after Mass. However, ring Fr. Tony on 01707 327434 or Fr. Norbert on 01707 323234 if you would like to make an appointment for Confession. The Sacrament will be outside the church building with priest and penitent standing; every attempt will be made to keep distance and reduce the risk of infection either way, while respecting the confidentiality of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The church will NOT be open for prayer after.
Update 6th November 2020
Churches cannot be opened for public worship. Here in Welwyn Garden City we will not be opening for private prayer.
We encourage you to pray at home and keep in touch with each other.
God bless you and keep you safe and in his loving care.
Update 2nd November 2020
Public worship will not be celebrated in our churches from Thursday 5th November 2020 until further notice.
Further updates will be made to this website on Friday 6th November
God bless you and keep you safe in these challenging times.
Update 4th October 2020
Fr. Norbert writes: Fr. Tony and I have spent some time reflecting on how we can respond to the Government’s permission for Mass to be celebrated in public in the light of the guidelines published by the Bishops’ Conference. It is complicated and a minefield of restrictions! I had hoped to have outdoor Mass but there has been so much rain recently!
At the heart of everything is keeping people safe and confident in coming to church. Moreover, we want to make Mass accessible to as many people as possible.
The Sunday obligation has been dispensed so you are free to attend Mass on any day. There is space too on weekdays for people to come more than once. Mass will continue to be streamed on a Sunday at 10am.
FACE COVERINGS MUST BE WORN.
Please note that at present we cannot use the heating in our churches because they have strong blowers and would transmit any airborne virus. We apologise for this. Best to wrap up well if the weather turns much colder.
Until further notice the Public Mass schedule will be as follows:-
St. Bonaventure’s - as a building - is small and would not hold many people in present circumstances. We reckon Holy Family would take around 70 people and Our Lady’s 80. Both churches also have car parks which is an important consideration.