We have now received a communication from the Bishops Conference of England and Wales regarding the public celebration of Mass. Masses will no longer be open to the public from this Friday evening onward. Our scheduled Mass for this evening at Warsop, and our two Masses scheduled for St Bernadette’s and St Philip Neri on Friday, will go ahead as normal. Both school Masses tomorrow are cancelled. Following the 12.10pm Mass at St Philip Neri this Friday there will be no more public celebrations of Mass in our parishes. I attach below the document from the Bishops Conference.
At a time of pronounced global distress and hardship Christian hope is needed more than ever. The government is hard at work planning on how to mitigate the worst of this disaster. As Christians our vocation is not to look to the worst but, in placing our hope in the resurrection of Christ, to pray fervently for the best
The highest expression of that prayer of thanks and hope has been, since Jesus first uttered the words ‘do this in memory of me’ at the Last Supper, the offering of the Mass as a community. In the life of our church here in our part of the East Midlands that offering continues, Fr John and I will offer Mass every day with each of you in mind. However, as of Friday evening, we are no longer able to gather as a community and share in that Eucharistic sacrifice and renew sacramentally our Communion with God and each other.
Instead, soon, our homes are to become our churches. Our sofa’s need double for pews, our living rooms for chapels. St Paul, in his first letter to Timothy exhorts us, ‘First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people’ (1 Tim 2:1). First of all, that is what Christians do – in the Holy Spirit we offer through Christ to our Heavenly Father the thanksgivings and struggles of the whole world. Over the next few days we’ll be sending out some helpful material to make it easier for us to sustain the practice of prayer at home. By Sunday we will all have been provided with a liturgy to pray at home, and a prayer to ask Jesus to share with us a spiritual communion as we are unable to come to Holy Communion. So the Church will still gather in prayer this Sunday, praying at the same time, in the same way, to the same Lord – reading the same Scriptures, offering the same intercessions and thanksgivings – but in different places.
All the best to each of you over the days and weeks ahead. Don’t hesitate to be in contact with Fr John and I if we can be of any help. If you’ve got any ideas of what we could do, if there is something we could send out electronically that would be useful to you, please let us know. Pray for each other! Know that we are praying for each of you.