We now have some more news regarding the re-opening of St Joseph’s and St Marie’s. Before being able to re-open, all parishes in the diocese are required to have an inspection by a diocesan representative. This took place in our parish four weeks ago. I then had to await official permission from the Vicar General, which I received a few days ago. This is great news indeed and means we can now think about re-opening, first for private prayer and then for public Mass.
To be able to re-open, I will need a large team of volunteers. We need stewards on the doors, to guide people to their places, and cleaners to clean after every Mass/prayer session. Thank you to those who have already volunteered. However, we do need a lot more. I have been advised by the diocese to only open on weekdays to begin with so please think about which days you might be available. Training will be given so that we comply with the guidelines. If you wish to volunteer, please contact me by phone or by e-mail.
The day I received permission to re-open, I also received a communication from the Faith Forum, which is a department of Bury Council. They state that Bury currently has one of the highest rates of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in the country and is still rising. It is advised that in order to avoid a local lockdown, everyone in Bury needs to do their bit by adhering to social distancing guidelines, washing your hands regularly, wearing a face covering where needed and not meeting up with people outside of your household.
With this in mind, we should journey forward with caution. Before deciding on a date to re-open, I need to make sure that not only do we have enough volunteers in place but also that the local ‘R’ number has not risen further. Do keep an eye on the website for further updates. During this time, I have continued to say Mass in private each day, keeping in mind those of the parish community. I now look forward to seeing faces once more in the pews!