Dear parishioners & friends of St. Teresa’s!
In this sixth pastoral parcel during these times of pandemic, we offer the good news of the re-opening of the church for public mass on Monday the 29th June. The church has been open in the afternoon from 2-5 p.m. all during this pandemic but now we are making preparations for the public celebration of the sacraments again. In this newsletter we present to you the changes that are required of us all in order for this to happen and invite you to have a close read of it, so that you are aware of the changes that there will be when we gather. We are delighted that this can happen and we will do our utmost to ensure that St Teresa’s remains both a safe/healthy and prayerful place.
When you approach the church on the 29th June or afterwards you will notice some changes. Immediately you will see the standard lines outside the church for the two metres social distancing. You will notice a sign at the entrance saying a maximum of 90 people in the church at any one time. You will also see that there are separate doors for entering and leaving the church. Entrance will be through the usual door (automated) that we have been using, but you will exit the church by either the door to the right of the Altar (shrine of St Joseph) or through the door at the very back of the church. Outside the church there will also be a notice with the information about the maximum number in the church, advice about where to sit, receiving communion and that the toilet is no longer available. There will be a steward outside the church at weekends to count the number coming in and also to assist with any social distancing.
Inside the church there will also be a steward to advise on hand sanitizing and any assistance with seating arrangements. Baskets will be available for both the first and share collections and the parish envelopes. Basically two people can sit on the big seats and one person on the smaller ones. These places are marked by rainbow signs on the back of the seat. Obviously those from the same household can sit together. So we believe it would be helpful, if those from the same household sat together in the smaller seats in the aisles. This may enable us to have more in the church. You are asked to take the mass leaflet/newsletter home with you or to bin in on the way out of the church. Communion will be brought to you, you do not need to leave your seats. There will be instrumental music but no singing or hymnbooks. We are advised not to delay too long in big groups so mass will be shorter. The church seats, doors and shrines will be cleaned after each mass by volunteers. You exit the church by the door to the right of the altar or the back door.
All this may sound complicated and cumbersome and it can appear quite different to our usual experience. The parish team, the Parish Pastoral Council, the Liturgy Committee and volunteers did a lot of preparatory work to enable public mass to be in compliance with the instructions given from the archdiocese which in turn is in dialogue with the state officials. After a little while, we are sure that we will be used to this new routine. And after another while, things will return to a more usual experience. Most important, we can come again for mass, to meet each other, to celebrate our faith and community.