From Saturday 4th July, the normal celebration of Mass in public at the Cathedral will re-commence, and we will be open all day as usual.
To begin with, to ensure that everybody is kept safe, there are a number of things we need to do:
Social distancing: each space on a bench will be marked with a green tick or a red cross. Individuals must sit separately on the green ticks, but households may sit together on the entire bench.
Mass: the priest will be alone in the sanctuary. To start with, he will also read and will distribute Holy Communion alone. This will change over time, and we do this to ensure safety, and not to exclude anybody who usually serves, reads or helps distribute Holy Communion. We look forward to gradually returning to normal over time. Other priests in our own “household bubble” may be called on to help with Holy Communion, or by assisting in other ways.
Holy Communion: the priest will give Holy Communion in the hand, but please extend your arms out fully to ensure some degree of distancing.
Singing: there will be no “congregational” singing for the time being. However, at the Sunday 11am Mass, and on some other occasions, there will be a cantor.
Books: there will be no hymn books or Mass books available, nor books for morning prayer (which we can restart again later).
Meet & Greet: we invite Mass-goers to consider each other’s needs, and leave reasonably swiftly and orderly after Mass. There will be no tea & coffee after Sunday Mass, and the priest will not “go to the back,” but will wish everyone well “from the front.” If you need to see a priest about a need, make yourself known, or call us.
Sacristy: is out of bounds except to authorised persons.
Vespers: has moved from Tuesday to Sunday, to ensure a dignified weekly celebration. This is also an important part of the Cathedral’s liturgical service to God.
Exposition: times as normal, but there will be no “solemn” benediction on Saturday or Tuesday (but there will be benediction at the end of Vespers on Sundays).
Confession: times as normal, in the confessional, with a fixed screen. Viricidal spray is provided for use after each confession. You may see a priest in the garden at another time by appointment if you prefer.
Sunday obligation: for the moment, the obligation is still lifted. This will very gradually change.
Pastoral visits: we are still encouraged to avoid close contact and to take especial care around the most vulnerable. Things will gradually return to normal, but for now please remember to call us about a sick person, or if you would like to talk to a priest, and if for some reason, we are unaware of you or your loved one.
Funerals and weddings: can take place now as normal, but with a maximum of 30 in the immediate congregation. Please call us about a baptism if you have an enquiry.