St Patrick’s Church Reopening Plans (Update: 5 July)

Q.   What are the reopening plans for the Church?

  • The church will be open on weekdays and Saturday between 10am and Noon for private prayer (funerals permitting). Mass will recommence on a gradual basis on Tuesdays and Fridays at 10am and Sunday at 9am and Noon.   The Sunday 10.30am family mass will continue for the present as a live broadcast on the parish website.

Q.   How many people will be allowed in the church? 

  • The church building is limited to 65 people in attendance based on new guidance issued by the government. This figure is on a first come basis and is inclusive of staff and volunteers.  All are expected to follow the social distance guidance and seating arrangements when in attendance (see below).  The Archbishop has advised that the use of face coverings is strongly recommended for indoor settings.

Q.   What happens if the Church is full?

  • The maximum number in attendance in the Church building is 65 inclusive of congregation,  liturgical staff and volunteers.  For those who cannot enter the Church due to the maximum number having been met, loud speakers will be set up in the car park behind the pastoral centre and also at the entrance of the church to cater for the overflow.  Holy communion will be brought to the cars and those who may be standing at the entrance to the church.  It is expected that parishioners respect 2 meters social distancing at all times.

Q.   Will mass continue to be live streamed on the website?

  • The 10.30am Family Mass will continue to be live streamed.  This online mass is aimed at younger parishioners and their families; it is an accessible liturgy for children and enables them to participate more fully in the Sunday Mass.

Q.   I am not ready to attend mass, is this an issue?

  • Please be assured that the obligation to attend Sunday Mass was temporarily lifted by Pope Francis for the duration of the crisis. This still applies, so if you do not feel comfortable coming back to Mass immediately that is fine. Or you might consider attending on a weekday instead of Sunday when the numbers attending will be smaller.

Q.   What safety measures will be put in place?

  • Doors will be held open to reduce the need for people to touch surfaces such as door handles.
  • Everyone will have to use the provided hand sanitisers as they enter the Church.
  • There will be a one-way system and social distancing in operation in the Church, assisted by our stewards.
  • All seat assignments will be 2 metres apart.
  • During mass, the front and back doors will remain open (weather permitting) to allow for better ventilation.
  • Surfaces which may have been touched will be sanitised after mass.
  • Holy Communion will be brought to the benches.

Q.   What do I need to do when attending Mass?

  • Do not come to Mass if you have a cough/cold or feel unwell.
  • Hand sanitisers will be provided, please use them as you enter.
  • Try to make minimal contact with door handles or other surfaces.
  • Do not shake hands or hug anyone.
  • Please do not congregate to chat after Mass; exit in an orderly fashion, observing social distancing at all times.

Q.   How can I help?

  • To be able to put the safety procedures in place for the benefit of everyone we desperately need volunteers to help with stewarding and sanitising the Church at masses.  

Q.   How do I enter/exit the Church?

  • Entrance will be via the main doors at the front of the Church and after mass the exits will be the two doors at the back either side of the altar.

Q.   Can I choose where I sit in the Church?

  • It may not be possible for you to sit in your usual or favourite seat for this initial period; please be patient until things have settled down and restrictions can be eased further.

Q.   Have the mass times changed?

  • Yes, please see above and continue to look at the parish website for further changes.

Q.   Can I still use the toilet facilities at the Church?

  • Unfortunately, there will be no access to the toilets in the Church as we do not have running hot water which is needed to clean them thoroughly between each use.

Q.   How are collections going to be done?

  • Collection boxes will be placed at the entrance and exit doors.  The former will be for the 1st Collection and the latter for the Share Collection. The collection baskets will not be passed around.  There will be a box at each door where envelopes/ donations for collections can be left. On-line payments are also welcome on our website.

Q.   Will the parish office be open? If not, how can I contact the office?

Q.   What are the arrangements for Confession?  

  • Confession can be requested after Mass.  The confession box is not to be used. However, a space will be available in the Church to receive the Sacrament on request.

Q.   Will the Church be open for private prayers?  

  • Yes, weekdays and Saturday between 10am and Noon 

Q.   What to do if you have any issues and concerns

  • A Reopening Committee has been established and contact can be made through the parish email address.