171 THE HILL, BURFORD OX18 4NE
Parish Priest: Fr Andrew Foster (Carterton). Tel 01993 842463
Presbytery: Fr Bernard Garratt (retired) in residence. Tel 01993 823219
An important message from Fr Andrew and an update on the opening of the church for private prayer
You will have read with a sigh of relief that the UK Government has recently published details for the potential reopening of places of worship from Monday 15 June for private prayer, after closure owing to the corona pandemic almost three months ago. I will do everything I can to make sure safety requirements are met in order for our church in Burford to open for prayer, but I have to tell you that the conditions for doing so are rigorous. Obviously the Archdiocese of Birmingham in common with all other religious authorities does not wish to jeopardise the trust of the Government and people of the UK nor of Catholic people in particular, and therefore is intent on every church completing a formidable risk assessment before being allowed to open for private prayer. Doing everything we can to keep people safe is a supreme priority. In certain cases, where resources are limited and especially where the church in question is small, where social distancing is a challenge, (and this applies in the case of our own small church), this may be adjudged to be impossible. We are in the process of compiling a risk assessment, and I would request your understanding and cooperation should we not, or not immediately, receive permission to reopen.
Of course, reopening for private prayer would hopefully be a prelude to opening for the celebration of Mass and the Sacraments, but we still do not know when that may be possible. Social distancing rules will mean only a limited number of people may be present at Mass in the church. It will be hard to bear and will necessitate a great degree of understanding and cooperation from you all. I am presenting the reality to you now in the hope that with your kind understanding we can create the conditions for the parish to survive and flourish. It will not be easy and will involve sacrifice, but I believe it will be possible.
Most Catholics have been deprived of the Sacraments, especially Holy Communion, since the end of March. I have been very fortunate in being able to offer Mass almost daily, and have been daily mindful of the people of the parish and of your deprivation in not receiving the nourishment of Holy Communion. As I am sadly currently unable to drive I would ask those of you who are especially in need, to contact me by email or telephone and we may be able make an appointment to meet at St Joseph’s, Carterton, while keeping to the rules of social distancing. We will observe a brief penitential rite, proclaim the Gospel and I will administer Holy Communion.
With my prayers and best wishes,
12 June 2020
Opening the church
From 4 July it is permitted for churches to open not only for private prayer but also for services. The comprehensive guidance for the safe use of places of worship has now been published and is available on the government website. While work on reopening the church is progressing we do not have a definite date for the first Mass. However, we will update the website when we have more news. Sunday’s newsletter has an additional page dedicated to a message from the Metropolitan Archbishops of the Catholic Church of England concerning the opening of churches.
In the meantime if you have not received the weekly email from Carolyn Walton and you would like to be added to the list of recipients please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
9 July 2020
Please see the weekly Newsletter page for updates and links to sites that livestream Masses can be found here
The readings for the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time can be found on the Masses page together with a copy of Sunday Message which includes a commentary on the Sunday Gospel.