Coronavirus Risk Assessment : Our Lady of Lourdes, New Milton, for opening the church



This Guidance is offered to Our Lady of Lourdes Parish as the country moves into Step 4 (19th July) of the Government Covid-19 Response Roadmap to end the Coronavirus Pandemic. Our aim is to make our Church, as a building and the activities we have therein, a safe environment for all. It is therefore a one for all and all for one collective Risk Assessment endeavour to mitigate against the transmission of the virus, which is still prevalent in society.

General - We continue to provide hand sanitizer at entrances and exits of our Church; and insist on the wearing of masks to be worn by those in church. General cleaning using commonly provided cleaning fluids and detergents and sanitizing wipes are always available. There is a constant check on ventilation and air circulation in the Church.

You are required to sanitize your hand as you enter the Church. The Church is regularly given a thorough sanitization, but you will be expected to personally get involve as a measure and so always stay alert. Take a wipe as you go in and wipe your sitting position and do the same at the end of the Mass. A large, sealed sanitizing wipe paper roll is available at the entrance of the church doors for this purpose.

Cards with these wordings “Please leave a Space” will be provided for people to pick up as they enter the church. Please put this sign beside you so that a space can be created to allow for distancing.

Congregational Singing - Indoor congregational singing will be permitted. The use of cantor groups and other choirs is now permitted. It is recommended that singing should be phased in gently as part of worship over the summer period and that face coverings should be worn by members of the congregation whilst singing together, until infection levels reduce.

Acts of Worship As the restrictions are lifted public acts of worship to some big extent return to normal practice. We are basing our Risk Assessment depending on our mitigation of our space and as a means of promoting public confidence in the Covid-19 security safety measures.

Opening of Churches The Church doors are opened daily at 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It is left open and unsupervised for individual prayer during times when there are no public acts of worship. QR codes (or other means of attendee identification) are clearly signposted at entrances and those entering encouraged to use them for test, track and trace purposes. Hand sanitizers are still available for people to use.

2. Test, Track and Trace As long as the NHS Test, Track and Trace system is in operation. Please use the NHS app and the associated QR codes.

3. One-way systems and movement of people Please exercise good, responsible behaviour especially when moving to receive Holy Communion during Mass and you should avoid getting too close to each other.

4. Stewards The deployment of stewards will continue as a welcoming presence at the church door and is a valuable sign of hospitality, and distribution of handouts under Covid-19 prevention recommendations

5. Anointings ( Just so that you know ). As part of the Liturgy Moving Forward, liturgies of the Church which involve anointing can be addressed in two ways. If there is a single subject (like a single child baptism or the anointing of a sick person) the thumb can be used providing it is cleaned and sanitised before and after each application (for example using an antiviral wipe). If there are multiple subjects (as in a confirmation) then a cotton bud for each candidate should be used. Again, local judgement has to be applied in each situation.

The Holy Water stoups are still out of use till further notice. Christians are still exalted to take home with them Holy Water in small bottles/containers. Ask and you will be given.

.• For now all usual ministers for the celebration of Holy Mass are most welcome such as servers, cantors and readers. Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion in this Parish will progressively be reintroduced.

The offertory collection for now will continue with our long-fastened staff and basket. We do encourage online collection.

The physical Sign of Peace remain suspended as has been the case all through this period of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Holy Communion will continue to be under one kind and the Priest will continue to sanitise his hands beforehand and wear a face covering whilst distributing communion. During this time of the distribution of Holy Communion, the faithful are recommended to come up for Communion in a single line, observing social distance. Please exercise good, responsible behaviour when moving to receive Holy Communion during Mass and you should avoid getting too close to each other. There should be care on the part of the minister and communicant to avoid physical contact with the hands of each other.

For the Priests This just to let the Christians know the various measures the Priests has to take in the celebration of the Sacraments during this time of the pandemic.

Concelebrating - Should there be the need, concelebration is permitted and Holy Communion by the concelebrants should be by intinction (including the principal celebrant), and the consumption of the remaining sacred species and cleansing of the chalice should be performed by the principal celebrant alone.

Celebration of Holy Baptism - Baptisms now have no restrictions on numbers attending, however, it is recommended that single families should have children baptised at any one celebration. Baptisms involving multiple families and children is not allowed for now.

Celebration of Confirmation Confirmations can be celebrated as usual with the caveat that the laying on of hands should be by the celebrant extending the hands over the confirmandi and the Sign of Peace be a gesture without any physical contact.

Celebration of the Sacrament of the Sick If this takes place in a hospital or care home, then the minister should take advice regarding the level of PPE required from the institution. The laying on of hands should be by extension over the sick person and the anointing can be done as indicated in (5) above. The Sign of Peace should be a gesture without touch.

Celebration of Marriage There is no restriction on the number of people that can attend marriages in the Church. Marriages in the form of a Nuptial Mass should observe the recommendations for the Celebration of Holy Mass. Those within a Marriage Service outside of Mass should apply the usual norms.

Celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation A physical barrier, such as a Perspex sheet or heavy curtain, should cover the grille between the confessor and the penitent. Good ventilation of the penitent’s side of the confessional should be deployed to prevent stagnation of air. Confessional boxes should be cleaned after the period of confessions has ended, and the doors left open to facilitate good ventilation. Because our confessional is not made in such a way as can be adapted to these recommendations, we sadly will not be using our confessional for now.

Celebration of Funerals There is no restriction on the number of people that can attend funerals in the Church. Funerals in the form of a Requiem Mass will observe the recommendations for the Celebration of Holy Mass. Other funeral services should follow the ritual as published and the decorum of the place of worship.

Home Visits For now, home visits can now take place only by the Priest. In time this will be extended to Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion and other volunteers. All necessary measures to prevent the spread of this virus will be greatly observed.

Social Activities Parish social activities will resume, based on the well-established Risk Assessment for both the activity and the space each time.

Catechetical Groups/Formation Groups/Prayer Groups will resume as scheduled and again following the well-established Risk Assessment for both the activity and the space each time.

The Church is now opened for private prayers as stated above.

New Recommendations for the Covid-19 Period. 1 July 2021

We are all dreaming of a time when we all shall go back to our normal life or living our lives as we did before the pandemic. The question is – How soon is this and how long are we to wait? Without growing tired or weary, we just have to get going with all firm convictions that all will be well. Therefore, we shall have the following reinstated:

1. Open the doors of our Church every day at 8:00 a.m. and close them at 6:00 p.m. (Except for Sundays –opening at 7:00 a.m. and Tuesday – closing after the evening Mass). This will surely help us come in for our private prayers and meditation in this year of St. Joseph and the year of the Eucharist. Please follow the risk assessment for covid-19 as placed in Church whenever you come in.

2. Begin our outdoor Masses at the Grotto this Sunday 27th of June 2021 at 4:00 p.m. depending on the weather.

3. The cloth bound chairs will be in use only for the Sunday Masses. These will be sanitized and not used for a whole week – a span of 168 hours.

4. The Living Rosary Group will resume prayer meeting sessions at the same venue. All are expected to come wearing a mask.

5. Just as we diligently pick up our shopping baskets and trolleys while shopping, so too we shall start using

our votive candle stand and lighting of candles if we so desire. A non-flammable hand sanitizing gel will be made available. Donation boxes will be placed nearby and also at the back of Church.

6. We continue to use the Sacristy for confessions

Fr. George