Thursday, July 9th

On Saturday some of  our volunteers thoroughly cleaned the church and marked out the areas we can use. Our thanks to them for their work.  

I can only hope that the church will be inspected by someone from the diocese sometime soon. Until then we can’t open for Mass or private prayer.

Some things are certain. When you do, eventually, get to come back into your church, some things will be different, including: 

  • We won’t be able to use much of the space in the church.  We now have 11  pews that can be used - this equates to 22 individuals (one at the opposite end of each bench), and rather more when couples and families or established social bubbles sit together on a bench. I’m  now looking into an easy to use online reservation system for when we do open. My hope is that everyone who wants to come back to Mass will be able to do so at some time during a week. 
  • You will be expected to use the hand sanitiser that is provided on arrival and departure, or be seen to be using your own
  • You’ll be directed to a place in church by a steward
  • When the diocesan Ordinary permits me to celebrate public Mass again, it will be brief, the order will be slightly altered, particularly the distrbution and reception of Holy Communion, and there’ll be no singing. I will be the only person in the sanctuary and I’ll be offering Mass facing the Tabernacle.
  • You may wear a nose/mouth covering when in church but, as we are instructed to keep to 2m distancing,  this is not compulsory at church.
  • Mass times will very likely be altered 
  • This is how Our Lady of Mount Carmel church now looks with social distancing measures in place (link)

I’ll keep you informed of any further progress.

HOWEVER, NONE of this can happen without the help of volunteers

  • Our pool of volunteers must be limited to those who are under seventy years of age and who are free from any underlying health condition that might place one at risk.
  • We have 12 volunteers so far. This should mean we can open on a Sunday, and perhaps at some other times during the week. Given that some of the volunteers may have returned to work, it is difficult to envisage how we could do much more. 
  • As soon as we are given permission to reopen there will be a brief meeting for volunteer stewards to explain the procedures we have to implement.
  • It would be good if we have a small team who could be available to steward  at funeral services. These will be possible again once the church is open, but only with this help in place. The number of people permitted to attend a funeral is still very limited (a total of 30) and no music or singing of hymns is permitted.

It is likely that the extraordinary measures will have to be in place for some months so, whatever we do, it will need to be sustainable. A larger group of volunteers will help this to be the case. I won’t allow volunteering to become overly burdensome for a small group of parishioners.  

Thank you to parishioners who have volunteered so far. 

If you are able to volunteer to help with stewarding or cleaning please contact me.

IMPORTANT: The obligation to attend Sunday Mass is still suspended by the bishop. 

Don’t be anxious if you are a 'shielder' and can’t, or would rather not, come back to church straight away. If we manage to open, and have sufficient volunteers to enable stewarding for some weekday Masses, these are likely to be less busy and these could be an option for some.  Masses are still being streamed online from various churches.

Unfortunately, I can't see St Thomas of Canterbury Church reopening for a while yet. Having no side aisles, there isn’t a way to establish  a ‘one-way’ system and, with 2 metre social distancing in force, we would be able to admit very few people into the building. For the time being, I'll concentrate on opening the larger building at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the hope that parishioners from St Thomas’ will travel if they can.


The English Metropolitan Archbishops have issued a letter about the return to parish worship (linked)

Links to live-streamed (and recordings) of Holy Mass etc.:  English texts are available via our Today tab on the menu bar above. Schedules are on most of the live-stream websites.

Live-streamed and recorded daily Holy Masses from the York Oratory

Click here  for the 24 hr live-stream of Masses & devotions at the Walsingham Basilica

Click here for a live-stream of the Traditional Latin Mass (FSSP)

Live Mass for the Sick, their Families and Care-givers

Recognising that the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting everyone, special Masses will be celebrated for the sick, their families, care workers and NHS staff will be celebrated by one of our Bishops in his Cathedral every Thursday at 7pmFull schedule.

Click here for very useful suggestions from the Bishop of Leeds on how to participate in streamed live Mass  when remaining at home