SUNDAY OBLIGATION The Bishops of England and Wales have recently issued a statement regarding the return of the Sunday Obligation which had been suspended during the pandemic. It includes the following: “The pressing challenge of the pandemic have lessened significantly. We therefore believe that the reasons which have prevented Catholics from attending Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation no longer apply. We understand that there will be some members of our congregations who, for reasons of health, do not feel safe enough to return to Mass. It has always been the understanding of the Church that when the freedom of any Catholic to attend Mass in person is impeded for a serious reason, because of situations such as ill health, care for the sick or legitimate fear, this is not a breach of the Sunday Obligation.” The Sunday Obligation was reintroduced from the Feast of Pentecost. The full text of the Bishops’ letter can be viewed at: https://www.cbcew.org.uk/spring-plenary-2022-resolution-returning-to-mass-at-pentecost/
NEWS FROM THE BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE OF ENGLAND AND WALES Restrictions brought in to halt the spread of Covid-19 have been lifted in Churches throughout England and Wales after nearly two years. The relaxation of restrictions corresponds with the end of the Government’s “Plan B” restrictions introduced. Whilst this reduction of restrictions brings a more normal way of living, the Covid-19 virus is still in circulation, and we should bear this in mind of those participating in the life of the Church as time goes forward, ensuring the need for personal safety and taking responsibility for that safety.
The scientific consensus is that society is moving towards the stage where the virus is transitioning from the pandemic phase to the endemic phase, but as stated by HM Government, there is still a risk associated with gathering for sustained periods in enclosed spaces and therefore there needs to be continued caution by all against infection. The wearing of masks inside Churches will be optional rather than compulsory, although we encourage you to continue to wear a mask if possible. There will be no social distancing but please be sensitive to the needs of others around you. The sign of peace can be re-introduced and holy water stoups filled up again.
We should continue to ensure there is good ventilation, balancing this against the need for church heating, especially at this time. If you experience any COVID-19 symptoms, stay at home. If you tested positive for COVID-19 and were in Church recently, stay at home and inform us immediately by calling 01628 605764 so that we can take the necessary steps. Thank you for your continued vigilance.
Letter from Tony McNiff, Chief Operating Officer for the Diocese of Northampton
Dear Fellow Parishioners
I am writing to introduce myself as the new Chief Operating Officer at the Diocese having joined at the beginning of September.
I am very much looking forward to visiting the parishes across the Diocese as soon as possible but unfortunately the constraints of COVID-19 have meant that I have been unable to visit as many as I would have wished.
Parishes I have visited and the financial returns from those I have not, tell a very similar story. The reality of the situation is that they have been struggling to cover their costs with reduced income. Over the period to September 20 (the latest accounts produced), income received has dropped by almost £1.7m and whilst efforts have been put in place to reduce costs including claiming support from the Government’s furlough scheme and reducing property expenditure to all but essential H&S related matters, a reduction of this magnitude has been difficult to manage.
For Our Lady of Peace and St Andrew’s, income from Offertory is down by 50% from £26000 for 6 months to September 2019 to £13000 to September 2020 and total income for the same period, down by 55% from £47000 to £21000.
I would, first of all, like to thank you for the generosity that you have shown in continuing to support the life of our parishes over recent months. I am also acutely aware that many are suffering significant hardship as a result of the pandemic.
But, as we come out of lockdown and our churches reopen more fully, our costs will start to increase and it will become increasingly challenging to support our parishes with reduced levels of donations. For that reason, I am asking you consider recommencing or increasing your donations if you are able to do so.
The support of those parishioners who contribute regularly by standing order and the associated Gift Aid we have been able to claim from the Government have been invaluable over the last 9 months and have highlighted how important this method of giving is. If you are able to contribute by standing order, please consider doing so. The Finance Team at Bishops House can help you with this if you are unable to arrange this locally.
If you are unable to attend Church and therefore find it difficult to contribute, please remember that you can do so online or by ringing the Diocesan Finance Team at Bishops’ House who will be pleased to help you donate.
Our priests rely heavily on your contributions, particularly at Christmas and Easter and your generous offerings at these times are hugely appreciated.
Thank-you for listening and for your ongoing support.
(13th December 2020)
SAFEGUARDING The Bishop has instructed that all Eucharist Ministers require to have a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check in place. If you are a commissioned Eucharist Minister, and have not had a DBS check carried out, then please contact Yvonne on 01628 605764 or by email using this link as a matter of urgency and she will arrange for a DBS to be carried out.
(12th January 2020)
GENERAL DATA PROTECTION REGULATION (GDPR) YOUR ACTION IS NEEDED! You may be aware that new data protection legislation came into force in the UK on 25th May 2018. It governs how personal data is processed and we as a Parish now need to obtain your informed consent to continue to use your personal data in our Parish. GDPR covers the personal data (e.g. addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses) we collect and hold in our Parish to ensure you as Parishioners can be contacted, for example for preparation to receive the Sacraments, when organising Parish group meetings or rotas, or to process Gift Aid donations. ‘Informed consent’ means that we tell you how we process and use your data, so that you can decide whether to give your consent for its use within the Parish to continue.
If we do not receive a written consent from you, we have to remove your details from our Parish register and from any groups to which you may belong. Consent forms can be found at the Church porches, we ask that these are returned to the Presbytery, as soon as possible. A separate Consent Form is required for each adult within each family. A Data Privacy Notice sets out how the Parish processes personal data, and a copy of the Data Privacy Notice is available on the Parish website, or from the Parish office. If you have any questions, please contact the Parish office.
WHAT TO DO ONCE YOU RECEIVE YOUR DBS CERTIFICATE…
Once you have received your DBS certificate you have 14 days to send it to be verified by the safeguarding and welfare Co-ordinator, Ms K Taylor-Duke at Safeguarding office, Bishops House, Marriott Street, Northampton, NN2 6AW. (In the past this did not need to be done as two copies were sent out, one to Ms K Taylor-Duke and one to you.
Due to Government cutbacks only one is now sent out which has created a lot more paperwork and work for you.) You will need to enclose a self-addressed envelope so the DBS form may be returned to you. (Both these envelopes can be provided if required). You now also have the opportunity to register your new DBS certificate online at www.gov.uk/dbs which may help with you not having to renew your DBS every three years. (That is unless you change your volunteer role which may require another DBS certificate!). I hope this information helps clarify the steps to validating your DBS certificate when it arrives.
BEREAVEMENT SUPPORT GROUP
The group offer a safe and confidential place to speak about your loss in an informal and relaxed setting. It is held at Holy Family Church, Langley. Please contact Graham Wheeler on 01753 538072 for further details.
Holy Family RC Church, 226 Trelawney Avenue, Langley | SL3 7UD
Holy Family Parish website
RAISE MONEY FOR CAFOD WHILE SHOPPING ONLINE
Do you do any shopping on the internet? Gifts? Books? At no extra cost to you or to CAFOD, you can raise money to support CAFOD’s work by doing your online shopping with a simple tool called Give as you live. It’s really simple. Visit www.cafod.org.uk/giveasyoulive to find out more and sign up.
Give As You Live (for Cafod)
We are very booked up with Mass intentions at the present moment and a number of you have been disappointed and unable to get the dates you had hoped for. Please book very early if you want a specific date or anniversary. Please let us know if you are happy for us to send on your intentions to another priest (perhaps a retired priest or a priest in a parish with fewer Mass intentions) or to the missions. We are of course always happy to include your intentions in the Bidding Prayers of any Sunday Mass. Please be aware too that very occasionally Mass dates have to be moved because of funerals, holidays, illnesses and other unexpected circumstances.
CAR PARKING WITH CARE AND CONSIDERATION
Please don’t block our neighbours’ driveways. Don’t park on the yellow hashed access to the Vicarage at St Andrew’s. Don’t park on the pavements: disabled/children’s buggies can’t pass. At Our Lady of Peace if you park on the descending access road near the side door of the Church you are blocking access to the disabled parking spots and leaving our disabled parishioners stranded.
Pax Christi, Peace of Christ, is a gospel-based lay-inspired, peacemaking movement. The movement strives to help the Church and the wider community to proclaim and to make peace, through its experience and ideas, and especially through the witness and action of its members.
Visit the Pax Christi website.