Coronavirus Risk assessments for the New Forest Catholic churches.

See the Coronavirus Risk Assessments for each of the New Forest churches in the left hand column.


The following information is for:

Our Lady of Mercy & St Joseph, Lymington,

St Francis of Assisi, Milford on Sea and

St Anne’s, Brockenhurst ONLY.


The advice we’ve received is that we should measure the safe capacity of the Church. We’ve painstakingly measured out (and marked) seats with a 2m space between each seat and have carried out a risk assessment.


Even though the government states 30 people can attend funerals it is dependent on how many people the church can accommodate while keeping to the 2m social distancing.

After considering the science, we have decided to keep our parishes of Our Lady of Mercy and St Joseph, Lymington; St Anne’s, Brockenhurst and St Francis of Assisi, Milford on Sea to 2m distancing, not 1m+mitigation.

These means that all our churches have restrictions and some pews are not in use.

OLMSJ: Lymington Has 8 pews available (possibly 9 depending on how many Stewards are on duty).

Each pew seats 2 people, one either end of the pew with 2m distance in between. That is 16 people.

However, if there is a family from the same household, max 5 people, they may sit in a pew together.

ST FRANCIS, Milford on Sea: Has 7 pews available (possibly 8 depending on how many Stewards are on duty).

Each pew seats 2 people, one either end of the pew with 2m distance in between. That is 14 people.

However, if there is a family from the same household, up to 5 or 6 people, they may sit in a pew together.

ST ANNE’S Brockenhurst Has 7 pews available (possibly 8 depending on how many Stewards are on duty) and 3 small pews.

Each of the large pews seats 2 people, one either end of the pew with 2m distance in between. There are three smaller pews each seating 1 person. That is 17 people.

However, if there is a family from the same household, they may sit in a pew together, up to 5 people. 3 max of a family group can sit in the smaller pews.

What do I need to do?

Booking for Mass: Everyone has to ring the parish office to book a seat for Mass  : 01590 676696.

Please don’t register for Mass or enter the church if you or someone in your household has a temperature, a cough, flu-like symptoms or loss of taste or smell.

Stay at home and participate in the Mass via live streaming.


Test & Trace: When you book your seat for Mass you will be asked to leave your contact details for Test and Trace

The details of those attending Mass will be kept securely for 21 days and then destroyed.


How safe will I be when I attend Mass?

We have completed a thorough risk assessment, following advice from the diocese and from our health and safety advisers. This risk assessment is available to view on our website page.

We have signs displayed to remind visitors about social distancing.

We have cordoned off several pews to give a 2m distance and we have marked the seats where people may sit.

Alcohol hand gel is provided outside the church and the Stewards on duty ask people to sanitise their hands as they enter and leave the church.

Weather permitting windows are kept open during masses.

The Stewards have been trained and have specific jobs.

Stewards will meet and greet you.

The entrance & exit to the church is through the main door at OLMSJ & St Anne’s.

At St Francis the entrance is through the main door and the exit is through the side door.

A Steward will check your name from their list and will direct you to the hand sanitizer.

The next Steward will keep you to a 2m distance and will guide you to the final Steward who will take you to your seat, starting at the front of the church and working to the back.

At the end of Mass the Stewards will guide you out, starting at the back of the church working forward, keeping to the 2m distance.

The Steward will direct you to sanitize as you leave.

The Stewards sanitize the pews after Mass, a funeral, wedding or baptism, and then the church is kept locked for 72hrs as per Risk Assessment.

Why do we need Stewards?

The government and diocese has stated to all parishes that a church cannot open without Stewards. We are very grateful to our Stewards for giving up their time not only to be available for Mass, but for weddings, funerals, confirmations and baptisms also.

We have been told by the government and diocese that the Stewards MAY NOT come from the over 70's age group or from the vulnerable group.

The Stewards will also be Fire Wardens should we need to evacuate the church.

Our Stewards also sanitize the pews, and anything which may have been touched, after the service.


Cleaning the church after a service

It has been stressed by Health & Safety at the diocese that a 'thorough clean' means to clean everything with soap and water THEN to clean again with anti bacterial spray. 


A wipe with antibacterial spray and then leave the church closed for 72hrs. 

If you have a service later that day, or the next day, or withiin the 72hr period, then a 'thorough clean' as per above, must take place.

We do not leave cleaning material at the end of pews for the congregation to clean up after themselves. We feel that by so doing they could put themselves, and others, at risk. Also they may not clean thoroughly.

We do not ask anyone who has organised a wedding, funeral, baptism or confirmation to return and clean after the service. We feel this is inappropriate and, in some cases, insensitive. We ask our Stewards to be on duty to welcome and to clean the church afterwards.

By asking our Stewards to do this we know the areas in the church will be cleaned thoroughly.


What about Mass offerings?

To prevent transmission of the virus the collection basket will not be passed around, but there is a basket available as you enter the church for your offering.


How do I receive Communion?

The priest will take Holy Communion to you in your seat.


Do I have to wear a mask?

As of the 8th August 2020 the governemnt has stated that everyone entering a place of worship has to wear a mask. The priest will wear a mask when distributing Holy Communion.


Will the toilets be open?

We are sorry but toilet facilities are not available on site at the present time because of the requirements that would be needed for keeping them clean.

Joseph’s place remains closed.


What time will Mass be celebrated?

OLMSJ           10.30 am Sunday

St Francis: 9am Sunday- once a fortnight

St Anne’s- 6pm Mass Sunday-once a fortnight.

See the current newsletter for dates.


Will there be a weekday Mass?

There are no publicly celebrated weekday Masses at present in our 3 parishes. 


Will the church be open for private prayer?

Our churches are not open for private prayer at the moment as we have no available Stewards. 



Will I be able to light a candle?

There are no votive candles available at the moment.


Thank you for your patience.

Please keep safe.

Fr David