IMPORTANT: PLEASE READ
INFORMATION ABOUT RE-OPENING FOR
Firstly, I must apologise for the lateness of this email regarding the re-opening of
churches for Mass. I only received the final recommendations from the Government and the Diocese late on Friday night, with further updates Saturday morning. It has certainly been a challenging and
frustrating few weeks.
I am really looking forward to seeing you next Sunday as we open our churches for Mass. I
know this is a lot to take in, but I feel I would be failing you as your Parish Priest if I did not explain in advance how the restrictions and requirements have affected our buildings and how we
celebrate Mass. It is also important that you feel safe when returning.
I have a 13-page Risk assessment, which we must have by law, with a further 5 pages of
guidelines from the Diocese. I know people are moving more freely now, and so will the virus, so I hope you will understand that we must have these restrictions in place for your own
Thank you in advance for your co-operation. I look forward to the restrictions being eased
as time goes on so we can get back together as a loving Community once more.
I will outline some of the main points for you here. Please read them
+ Anyone displaying symptoms that may indicate a COVID-19 virus infection MUST NOT attempt
to come to church.
+ Our Bishops remind us that, at this time of pandemic,no one is obliged to go to Mass.
Live streaming from many parishes around the world is still available.
+ I am instructed to tell you that those who are especially vulnerable are advised to stay
at home and not attend Mass:
• those who are over 70,
• in the shielding group,
• or at especially high risk of infection
If you are in one of these groups you are advised to follow government guidelines and stay
Fr David Quarmby and Fr Peter Ryan are shielding and cannot celebrate Mass with a
congregation at this present time.
+ Risk Assessment: We have been instructed by the government to carry out a full risk
assessment and to put everything included in the RA into practice. As a result, your church is not the same as you left it.
+ Social distancing – After listening to the science, I have decided to stay with the 2m
+ Because of the strict guidance on cleaning the church I have cancelled the 6pm Saturday
night Mass at Lymington and the weekday Masses in all 3 churches for the time being.
+ The number who can attend a church service has been greatly reduced.
A booking system is now in place If you wish to attend Mass, you must ring the parish
office by Saturday at the latest to reserve a seat.
Please do not turn up on the day without booking as you will not be allowed in.
We are not allowed to exceed the number of seats.
There is no overspill into Joseph’s place.
Seats will be allocated on a first come first served basis.
Because we must maintain 2m social distancing which is in front, behind and side to side,
several pews are now out of action.
A pew will now seat just 2 people. However, if you are a family from the same household the
social distancing has been measured to enable you to sit together in a pew.
The chairs have been removed- only pews are available.
We may have to restrict attendance of individuals to once a month, so that as many people
as possible get a chance to attend Mass.
+ Track and Trace. When you book a seat your telephone number will be taken to assist Track
and Trace should there be an outbreak of the virus in the church.
+ The church cannot open without Stewards.
It has been made clear that Stewards cannot come from the 70+ & shielding
+ If there are not enough Stewards Mass cannot take place.
Stewards will manage the flow of people into and out of the Church before and after
They will also evacuate the church in case of an emergency alongside any Fire wardens who
The Stewards will ask you to sanitize your hands on entering and leaving the
They will guide people to seats to ensure social distancing is maintained.
Please do not leave your seat unless instructed to do so by a Steward or myself.
Please do not expect to sit in your usual seat.
It is recommended that you wear a face covering/mask.
If you are wearing gloves you will have to remove them to receive Communion.
All cleaning materials and appropriate signage is in place.
Stewards will also ensure essential cleaning will take place before and after Mass to
diminish the risk of transmission of the virus.
+ Car parking. Due to the restrictions inside church, for people to sanitize their hands
before entering, and waiting for the Stewards to take them to a seat, there will probably be a queue outside the church with people standing 2m apart. Therefore, the car park at OLMSJ, Lymington will
be closed for safety reasons.
There may also be queuing outside St Anne’s and St Francis, so please take great care when
+ Toilet Facilities will NOT be available in any of our 3 churches.
+ There will not be any refreshments after Mass in Joseph’s Place, the Maryland room, or
the house at St Anne’s.
+ We have a legal obligation to ensure there is no contact between members of different
There will be no sign of peace.
Priests have been instructed not to greet parishioners at the door before or after
+ We are legally obliged to only allow the priest to distribute Communion, taking care to
avoid physical contact.
Therefore, Ministers of Holy Communion will have to stand down for the foreseeable
Communion is to be distributed under one kind only and will be distributed in the
The priest will wear a face mask when distributing Communion.
The way Communion is be distributed will vary from church to church depending on the social
distancing measures which are in place.
+ Deacons, Altar servers, Sacristans and Readers will have to stand down for the time being
as only the priest will be present on the sanctuary and in the sacristy.
+ Fire Wardens- You will not have access to your Hi-Viz jackets. If they are worn, they
must go into quarantine for 48hrs. However, if you are in
attendance please take your lead from your Lead Fire Warden and assist the Stewards in
evacuating the building.
+ Flower arrangers: only the priest will be allowed on the Sanctuary. If flowers can be
brought into church already arranged and put on any side altar that would be acceptable, but not anywhere on the Sanctuary.
Flower rooms are not accessible.
+ Candles: only the candles on the main altar will be lit.
Votive candles will not be available.
+ Sunday Collection. We can no longer hand the collection baskets around the congregation.
There will be a basket in a visible place for cash donations. The collection must be kept in a sealed bag for 48hrs before opening.
If you wish you can make a direct payment from your bank. Ring the parish office for
+ Singing – we will not be singing, or playing an instrument, for some time. The hymn books
have all been removed. Recorded music may be played.
Mass times 12th July:
Please only book a seat for the Mass at your parish.
6pm Saturday Mass at OLMSJ has been CANCELLED until further notice.
9am Sunday St Francis of Assisi
10.30am Sunday Our Lady of Mercy & St Joseph
6pm Sunday St Anne’s CANCELLED due to lack of Stewards.
I am hoping some volunteers will come forward so Mass can resume on 19th July.
I would like you to know that the above restrictions and requirements do not sit
comfortably with me, but they are in place for the safety of all.
Thank you for your co-operation at this difficult time.