All this week, Bishop Marcus and his fellow Bishops of England and Wales have been meeting at Hinsley Hall.
Following a consideration on the continuing concerns around the pandemic and the subject of the Sunday ‘obligation’, the Bishops have written a message for all the lay faithful entitled Honouring Sunday.
Easing of COVID restrictions
AS NATIONAL RESTRICTIONS HAVE NOW EASED, WE ARE IN A POSITION TO ALSO EASE RESTRICTIONS WHEN ATTENDING CHURCH. THE FOLLOWING CHANGES ARE NOW IN EFFECT:
- FACE MASKS: From Tuesday (10 August) it is no longer necessary to wear masks in church, though parishioners should feel free to do so if they wish.
- SOCIAL DISTANCING: As you enter St Mary’s, the benches on the right (organ side) will remain as they are with social distancing in place. The benches on the left can all be used with no social distancing.
- HAND SANITISING: Please continue to use the hand sanitising gel as you enter and leave church.
- BOOKING SYSTEM: It is no longer necessary to book for Mass.
- HOLY COMMUNION: At Sunday Masses those on the left side of church should make their way to the altar gates to receive Holy Communion. Those who are socially distancing on the right will have Holy Communion brought to them as is the present practice.
- SINGING: Congregational singing is now permitted. Hymn sheets will be produced for each Sunday in the coming weeks so that hymn books do not have to be used.
- ST ALBAN’S CHURCH: St Alban’s Church will be open for Mass on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday evening. Social Distancing cannot be guaranteed at any Masses at St Alban’s.
In all of this, we thank you for the generous way that you have looked after and assisted one another in feeling safe when coming before the Lord in prayer.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales have released a Novena on Care for Creation entitled ‘The river does not divide us’. The Bishops invite us to pray this novena on the nine days leading up to the Solemnity of Pentecost, beginning this Friday (14 May). The prayers can be accessed here.
Change in Live Streamed Mass Times
Masses will continue to be live-streamed at https://www.stmaryshalifax.com/live-stream on Wednesday & Friday at 9.30am, Saturday at 12:15 and Sunday at 11:00a.m.
In these days, we have become more aware than ever of the importance of keeping in touch with one another, especially as we are unable to gather together for Mass each Sunday. It has been many years since there was a parish census. A census enables us to keep up to date with parishioners and also to build up a database of those who wish to be kept informed about parish life by email. A simple census form is available to complete electronically here. Hard copies will also be made available in the churches when we reopen them.
Wednesday at 7pm: The Rosary
To join the prayer group, you will have to download and install Zoom at https://zoom.us/sign%20up
Once done, send the email address you have used to join Zoom to firstname.lastname@example.org. This will be used to send you the invitation link to the prayer meetings.
Parish Whatsapp Group
A Parish Whatsapp group has been established so that parishioners can keep in touch with one another. Fr Martin is the administrator of the group. If you wish to be included in the group, please send a text message with your name to 07990280144.
Several parishioners have asked how they can continue to make their weekly giving to the parish. This is very generous and we are very grateful to those who have thought of it. There are several ways in which you can continue to contribute financially to the parish. If you wish to set up a standing order to donate regularly you can set this up via your own bank. The parish account details are HSBC Bank Sort Code 40 27 15, Account Name: Diocese of Leeds St Mary’s Church, Account Number: 21023225. Alternatively, you can download a standing order form here. Return the completed form to Fr Martin at the presbytery (2 Clarence Street, Halifax, HX1 5DH). There is also the possibility to make one-off donations by text message. You can donate £5 by texting CHURCH MARY HALIFAX to 70500. Cheques, cash and envelopes can also be posted at the presbytery.
You will find some very useful and devout prayer resources on the Parish Website or by clicking https://www.stmaryshalifax.com/prayer-resource/. This also includes suggested prayers from the Bishops of England and Wales. In particular, the practice of making a Spiritual Communion is highly recommended and will give you an overabundance of Grace.