Christmas 2020 presents a huge challenge to us at parish level as we journey over the coming weeks. The government guidelines that we follow at this time place huge restrictions on us as we plan for our Saviour’s birth this year. You will be aware that those restrictions mean a very limited number of people present in church for each service in order to ensure the health and safety of all. Since Christmas draws family together from all over the globe, numbers present in church invariably increases. But unfortunately, this year, Covid 19 prevents us from gathering in the manner to which we have been accustomed over the years. And so we must tread with caution!
At a meeting of our Pastoral Council last Tuesday evening the following was agreed:
- The health and wellbeing, spiritual and physical of all concerned is our guiding star.
- This is a one year phenomenon and the challenges are in some ways akin to the first Christmas!
- We need to be hopeful in the midst of it all. Better times are coming!
With that in mind, a decision was made to increase the number of Masses in our three churches over Christmas. The rota of Masses will be as follows:
Wells : 4pm & 7.30pm
Newmarket : 5pm & 9pm
Newmarket : 8am & 11am
Carrigerry : 9am
Wells : 10am
We ask that, in so far as possible, consideration might be given by the older members of our community to avail of the opportunity of coming to one of the earlier Masses on Christmas Eve. This might help to secure a seat in church and alleviate pressure at the later Masses when more people traditionally tend to gather. While we cannot guarantee seating for all due to vastly reduced numbers, we hope that the extra Masses may go some way towards meeting the demand. It is good to bear in mind that all three of our churches have speakers installed outside the main entrances so it will be possible for the overflow to participate from the cars. Holy Communion will be brought outside by the Eucharistic Ministers. Newmarket Church has a webcam so, for many, it will be possible to be in Spiritual Communion with the community from home. The obligation to attend Mass still remains suspended for the duration of this pandemic.
We hope that these arrangements will go some way towards meeting your needs and we ask for your co-operation and understanding as we plan for a safe Christmas for all.