Latest Updates on Covid-19Friday 3rd April 2020
Monday 23rd March
In response to the Prime Ministers Statement Bishop John has said:
In line with The Prime Minister’s statement no churches in the diocese should open again until these restrictions are lifted. This means further restrictions on weddings and baptisms, none of which should now take place.
I encourage you all to live our Faith in a different way. Consider creating somewhere in your homes that you and your family can go to pray during these days, the Church continues in each of us.
Private mass can still be offered and I am thankful to all those parish priest who have been able to make this available via streaming.
These are unprecedented times and it vital that we all do our part to protect the most vulnerable.
Update on the 88th Diocesan Lourdes Pilgrimage
Friday 3rd April
A statement has been released from the Salford Lourdes team regarding the postponement of the 88th Salford Diocesan Lourdes Pilgrimage from July 2020 – July 2021.
A new page has been created which will provide you with information from around the diocese regarding how you can access live-streamed church services in the coming weeks. This information is still being gathered as the situation becomes clearer, but you can find the page with the most up to date information here.
We are also compiling a list of resources, which will be regularly updated as more become available, to help parishioners in our diocese through these uncertain times. The resource page can be found here.
We would like thank all clergy, volunteers and parishes around our diocese for the support you have shown. Despite uncertain times, you have shown the true meaning of community, illustrating how we are able to put our faith into action and live out our Church in a different way.
What does this mean for Liturgical Events?
This advice will be reviewed and developed as necessary on a weekly basis.
The following instruction is now given for the celebration of the Sacraments and sacramentals of the Church at this time.
Celebrations of Holy Mass
Priests should continue to celebrate Mass in a church within their parish without the faithful on a daily basis.
The continuing celebration of Mass ensures that the faithful can join in spiritual communion with the priests of the Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states (1364): As often as the sacrifice of the Cross by which ‘Christ our Pasch has been sacrificed’ is celebrated on the altar, the work of our redemption is carried out. Daily liturgical resources for those at home, including those for making a “Spiritual Communion” with the priest, will be available on the website.
The Bishops Conference have asked that Baptisms should be deferred until such time that the public health advice is that congregations can gather safely. If you have a baptism booked in the next few weeks please phone your parish priest.
Sacrament of Reconciliation
In light of the government directive on staying at home, the message issued previously about Confessions has been revised. For the safety of all, the Sacrament of Reconciliation will not be possible at this time. Pope Francis made a statement, which is included below:
“I know that many of you go to confession before Easter … many will say to me: ‘But Father ….. I cannot leave the house and I want to make my peace with the Lord. I want Him to embrace me ….. How can I do that unless I find a priest?’ Do what the catechism says. It is very clear. If you don’t find a priest to go to confession, speak to God. He is your Father. Tell Him the truth: ‘Lord, I did this and this and this. Pardon me.’ Ask His forgiveness with all your heart with an act of contrition, and promise Him, ‘afterward I will go to confession.’ You will return to God’s grace immediately. You yourself can draw near, as the catechism teaches us, to God’s forgiveness, without having a priest at hand.”
First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion
These celebrations will be postponed until a time that allows for families and friends to gather safely within our churches.
The celebrations of Confirmation will be deferred until such time that the public health advice is that congregations can resume public worship.
Matrimony should be deferred until such time that people can gather in numbers safely. However, if this is not possible and only in the most pressing of circumstances, then those present for the marriage should be restricted to the celebrant, bride and groom and immediate family, and if necessary, the legal Registrar.
If you have a marriage booked in the next few weeks please contact your parish priest as soon as possible.
Anointing of the Sick
No pastoral visits should be made to people who are self-isolating until the isolation period ends. However, priests can offer phone support. When anointing the sick, the Oil of the Sick can be applied using a cotton bud which can be burned afterwards (one end for the head and the other for the hands) and the priest extend his hands over the sick person for laying on of hands, without physical contact.
Visits to people in care homes or hospitals should follow advice from the staff on infection control.
Sacraments of Initiation at the Easter Vigil
This will be dependent on the forthcoming decisions of the Bishops for the Holy Week ceremonies.
The Bishops Conference have asked that the funeral service should take place at the graveside or at a crematorium. If you need to arrange a funeral please contact your parish priest as soon as possible. Arrangements will be made for a Mass to be celebrated in memoriam when congregations are allowed to gather.
Live Masses and Resources Online
Pray for the World with Pope Francis
The month, in his monthly video, the Holy Father calls for us to pray for the world in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Let us all pray together for the sick, for the people who are suffering. We seek refuge under your protection, O Holy Mother of God. Do not despise our pleas — we who are put to the test — and deliver us from every danger. O glorious and blessed Virgin. I thank all Christians, all the men and women of good will who pray at this moment, in unison, whichever religious tradition they belong to.”
Further information and updates on national situation
This is a rapidly evolving situation and latest updates can be found on the Gov.uk website https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/public-health-england