Message from Father John

The curtailment of services due to the Coronavirus will hit many of us very hard. I myself live alone, and there are many who will also feel a sense of isolation and loneliness keenly.

We are social creatures, used to interacting and “bumping into” each other, we are not made for isolation (unless you are a hermit – which I am not!) This is new and has a “cold” feeling about it, and there is a sense of withdrawal of the Church which is not welcome. We must trust that they know best.

We must keep one another in our prayers. I have been asked to carry on celebrating Mass, but without a congregation. This will feel very odd. Unfortunately, we do not provide “live-streaming” at the moment. This must be seriously looked into when things resume. Then there will be no excuse for missing one of my sermons! In the meantime, there are a number of churches which do provide live-screening, including our own Cathedral in Northampton, and Westminster Cathedral, so you won’t need to miss out entirely. But you will, of course require access to a computer.

Under these circumstances, they speak of a “spiritual Communion” if one “participates” with a Mass on line, but it does feel a very poor substitute for the real thing. Needless to say, the so-called Sunday obligation has been set aside, and I don’t want anyone coming to Confession later and confessing that they missed Mass because of the Coronavirus. They will receive a very heavy penance for even mentioning it!

Although I am required to “isolate” myself from you all, I am still available for emergency anointing of the sick, or last rites as it used to be called. The newsletter will continue and will contain useful information if you either need help or can provide help. It is available on the parish website, of course, as well as in paper form at the church.

The church will be open for private prayer as various times, as stated in the newsletter. There are also sheets titled “When Mass cannot be celebrated publically”, with a suggested liturgy for use on Sundays. Also copies of the letter from the bishops outlining the Church’s policies at this time. Please stay in touch, support one another, and as they say: “Keep the faith”!