The Opening of Church for Private Prayer

Following the media announcements of last week, we have been told churches may now be re-opened for Private Prayer from Monday 15th June 2020.

Archbishop McMahon has decided to take a cautious approach, consenting to the opening of two churches per Deanery within the Archdiocese on agreed days and at agreed times.

For our Deanery these two churches will be:

St Joseph’s, Leigh, opening on Sundays between 10.00-12.00pm and Wednesdays between 12.00-1.00pm.

All Saints, Golborne, opening Sundays between 9.00-11.00am and Wednesdays between 10.00-11.00am.

It is envisaged that we will begin opening All Saints from Sunday 21st June from 09.00am to 11.00am.

The Archbishop has issued strict guidelines to be adhered to in order to ensure the safety of all who come to pray in our churches. These are detailed below. Whilst many of these guidelines apply to what your Parish Priest must do in order to ensure your safety, some also apply to you. So, when you visit, please read and follow the guidelines. They are for your safety AND the safety of everyone else. A copy of these will also be available in church.

Diocesan guidelines for the opening of churches for Private Prayer:

  • Our church will have had a Risk Assessment completed and a letter of authorisation for re-opening, issued by the Archbishop.
  • Within both the church grounds and building, the 2 metre social distancing rule must be adhered to at all times.
  • There will be no parking outside the front of the church. Please use the side road, club carpark or B&M carpark across the road.
  • Do bring your own prayer books; newsletters, mass books, holy water have all been removed.
  • All doors will be left open to minimise shared contact.
  • Anti-bacterial hand gel will be available for your use at both the entrance and exit; we do however advise you to bring your own.
  • Upon your arrival you will be welcomed by a Steward to assist you.
  • We recommend that, for your own safety and peace of mind you wear a face mask/covering.
  • A one-way system with separate entrance and exit will operate: Parishioners will exit through the emergency exit at the far side of the church where they will be additional hand sanitiser.
  • Please take a ‘do not sit, to be cleaned’ laminated notice into church with you. Sit in one of the designated places. When you go, leave the laminated notice in your place. It will assist with cleaning.
  • Please place your Offertory envelope and Mass Intentions in the basket.
  • Movement within the church is restricted to walking to your place of prayer and leaving the church to ensure social distancing. Votive candle stands have been removed and we ask you not to pray in front of the statues.
  • In common will other public buildings the toilets will not be available for use.
  • Upon someone leaving the Steward will immediately clean the bench so that it is ready for use by the next person.

Finally, the Archbishop has advised that any church could be closed at short notice, depending on the current circumstances.

As you can see, a great deal of work has already gone into the preparations for re-opening church. To some it may seem unnecessary, to others not enough. All this is done to ensure your safety and to provide an opportunity for you to pray in your church and re-connect in this way with your faith. As the Psalmist has said: “Let us rejoice that He has saved us.”

Fr Gordon Abbs.
12th June 2020