Mass Under COVID Restrictions
7th January 2021
To the Parishioners of St Brigid’s Parish
The Bishops of the Northern Dioceses, following this afternoon’s meeting between Faith Group Leaders and Junior Ministers of the Executive Office, have decided, EFFECTIVE FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT, Thursday, 7th January, that:
“… for a limited period (from midnight on Thursday 7 January until Saturday 6 February 2021, subject to review in late January), the celebration of the Eucharist and other liturgies should take place without the physical presence of the faithful - with the exception of marriage, funeral, baptismal liturgies and drive-in services (subject to regulations). Arrangements for recording and/or livestreaming, and making individual visits for private prayer are also permissible in accordance with regulations.”
The times for the livestreaming of Masses from St Brigid’s Church will be published on Friday, 8th January.
Fr Eddie O’Donnell,
We have created a video to advise worshippers on the arrangements for public Mass
The plans for St Brigid's are as follows:
- Please see the Liturgy for Mass times
- Confession and Eucharistic Adoration have now resumed (see times under the Liturgy)
- Parishioners are again reminded that the dispensation from the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays/Holy Days is still active
- Because it will be possible for people to come as individuals or as household groups it is not possible to be precise about the maximum capacity but it has been set at about 120 people at each Mass.
- Please be aware that to maintain safe attendance levels within the church, the doors will be closed one minute before the start of Mass each time and no one can be admitted after that.
- Places will be available on a first come: first served basis and when all the seating stations (see video) are occupied, no more worshippers will be able to be admitted
- Common questions that you may have are dealt with below - see FAQs (below the Video)
In order to give as many parishioners as possible the opportunity to attend Mass, you are asked not to come more than once per week at present. Also - each of the neighbouring Parishes will be trying to serve their parishioners in a similar way. So please respect that by attending only our own church.
Safety for all concerned - at Mass and in the whole community - is our overriding desire so please do not come if you have been asked by your doctor to shield or if you have any actual or suspected COVID-19 symptoms. For the present, there is no obligation to wear a mask but please feel free to wear one, if you wish.
The latest version of the guidance video is shown below and we have created some FAQs that will hopefully cover items that you may be wondering about. They are shown below the video.
When will will weekday Masses be taking place? At present there will be Mass at 9:30 am on Monday to Friday - see above.
When will Saturday/Sunday Masses be starting? The first weekend Masses will be on Saturday 1 August at 6:00 pm and Sunday 2 August at 9:30 am - and every week after that.
Who can be accommodated at Mass? Worshippers can come as individuals - or as groups consisting of members of the same household. (See video)
Are there people who should not come? This is a matter for each individual but government guidance says that those who are over 70 or who have underlying health problems - including those who have been asked to shield - are at a significantly higher risk of COVID-19. That government advice is HERE.
You should also think about small children who are not old enough to understand and comply with distancing and with avoiding touching surfaces.
Are there elements of attendance that will be different? Most of this is covered in the video but - in addition, you should note:
- Toilet facilities will NOT be available as we cannot clean them after each use.
- There will be no collections during Mass due to cross infection risks - but a secure collection box will be available after Mass and there is also a Donate Online link under the Contacts tab of this website. If you would prefer to donate regularly via a Standing Order, please contact the Parish Office (028 9066 5409 or stbrigids@downand connor.org )
- We will not be using Parish missals, hymn books and bulletins - and newspapers will not be available for sale.
- The votive candle racks will NOT be accessible - due to the risk of cross infection.
- Wearing masks is not obligatory at present and you should make your own decision about that in the light of current NI Executive advice.
How many people will be able to be accommodated? That will depend upon the mix of individuals and family groups but our best estimate is that the maximum capacity will be 120 worshippers.
What will be done about cleaning the church to avoid infection? Professional cleaners will carry out thorough cleaning in between each of the Masses.
What should I do about arranging Funerals or Baptisms? Please contact the Parish Office - which will be in operation 9:00 am - 1:00 pm Monday to Friday - and there is an out of hours message taking service for urgent matters (see above for details)
Will Ministers of Holy Communion, Ministers of the Word, Cantors and Altar Servers be required? For the present, only the celebrant will be involved. When that changes, those who normally fulfill those roles will be contacted.
Changes to information on Masses will also be posted on the Parish Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/stbrigidsparishbelfast