THE PARISH PRIEST WRITES:
Message No 17: 5th July 2020
Resumption of public Mass
Starting with the 6:00pm Mass on Saturday (4th July) all Sunday and weekday Masses will be at the normal times at all four churches. Please read through the following regulations carefully:
If numbers greatly exceed the permitted maximum we shall introduce an on-line booking system, but I am very much hoping to avoid this. If you are concerned about numbers at Sunday Mass at Holy Trinity you may wish to attend Holy Mass at St Josephs where there is more capacity.
- The Sunday obligation has not yet been reinstated;
- DO NOT come to Mass if you have COVID-19 or COVID symptoms; think carefully about coming if you are in a vulnerable category;
- if you wear a face mask you may sit 1 metre apart from others;
- otherwise the 2 metre distance between each person/household still applies indoors and there will be a maximum capacity at each church: you may be asked to remain outside if the numbers exceed the limit;
- use the hand sanitiser on entry and exit;
- under the government Track & Trace scheme you are required to give a name and phone number on entry; after 21 days this information will be destroyed;
- the priests, sacristans etc will have taken great care to prepare for Mass safely;
- the Homily will be short, there will be no Bidding Prayers, and there will be no singing; Sunday Holy Mass will therefore be shorter than usual (to reduce the time a group of people spend indoors);
- Readers must bring their own Sunday Missal or downloaded sheet from which to read (if not, the Priest celebrant will read the Readings);
- there will be no offertory procession and no offertory collection; please place your collection in the box or bag at the Entrance (or better still take out a Standing Order);
- there will be no exchange of the Sign of Peace;
- at Holy Communion please come forward maintaining the 2 metre distance; stretch out your arms over the prie-dieu, and keep still; Holy Communion will be administered in one kind only; please DO NOT come forward if you are not receiving Holy Communion; there will be no use of Extraordinary Ministers.
- there will be no Childrens Liturgy of the Word at any of the churches, until September at the earliest.
Funeral and Wedding Masses are now possible, but always observing the regulations, including the limit on numbers. The School will not be attending Mass for the rest of this term.
Altar Servers can serve, but please check in with the priest before Mass. Bring your own bottle of water and ask the priest to bless it, if you want some holy water. He may be able to hear your Confession after Mass, outside and maintaining the 2 metre distance.
There will not be any physical Newsletters for a little while, so do look at the parish website regularly, where you will also find the weekly list of Mass Intentions.
If all goes well in the first weeks we can see about reintroducing some at least of the periods of Adoration.
Todays Mass Readings - 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Zechariah 9: 9-10; Psalm 144; Romans 8: 9, 11-13; Matthew 11: 25-30
First Reading: the prophet depicts the coming of the humble king of peace, in words which Christians have always taken to refer to Jesus Christ. Though He is the king of the universe He comes to us humbly, so humbly we can miss His coming into our lives.
Psalm: a royal psalm in praise of God, our king.
Second Reading: we have the Spirit in us, and so we should lead spiritual lives and be concerned with spiritual matters; this is the only way to have eternal life.
Gospel: this passage follows a section in which Israel fails to see that Jesus Christ is the Messiah (even John the Baptist was uncertain). If we compare the words used here with the book of Exodus it becomes clear that Jesus is the new Moses, but His new covenant does not produce the onerous burdens of the old law of Moses but a new teaching which, with Gods help, we can follow.
The Requiem Mass of Helene Fox is on Tuesday at St Thomass at 12:30pm. Please note that the restrictions, including a maximum number attending, apply. This will be the first Funeral in church since the lockdown.
Gift Aid envelopes
When the churches reopen on Sunday, the new Gift Aid envelopes will be available. As I do each year, I try to make sure the correct envelopes go to the right church, but its more of an art rather than a science. I have a list that I update each year, where the envelopes have not gone to the right place. If your envelopes are not where you expect them, please email me at Gift Aid and Ill follow up.
Parishioners using the Weekly Boxes of Envelopes: please collect your box. If your Gift Aid number was over 100 and under 200, you will see when you collect your box that you will have been assigned a new number. The reason for this is that as the majority of parishioners continue to move over to Standing Orders, Im back-filling lower numbers so that we dont order boxes of envelopes that dont get used.
Under the COVID-19 regulations, the envelopes and cash have to be quarantined for 72 hours before counting. It would greatly assist things if you could change to a Standing Order, instead of the weekly envelope: please email me at Gift Aid. It is straightforward to do.
Parishioners who do Standing Orders: there is a small bundle of special collection envelopes ready for you to collect with your name on the back of the last envelope in the bundle. These can be used for the Christmas offerings.
If you have set up a Standing Orders during the lockdown: a number of parishioners contacted Fr. David and kindly set up a Standing Order or online bank credit during lockdown. If youve done this Ill need to catch up with you to give you a new parish number as the Gift Aid system operates slightly differently with Standing Orders. Id be very grateful if you would contact me at Gift Aid.
Parish Post COVID-19 Survey
We would like to understand from you what would help to enrich your faith life in our Parish Community when we can worship and celebrate together again. We would appreciate you completing this anonymous survey (you may leave your name however if you wish): COVID-19 Survey. Deacon Neil will be in charge of collating the responses. Your participation in the survey is greatly valued. Thank you to the many who have already completed the survey.
Sevenoaks Food Bank
Sevenoaks Food Bank is unfortunately a never ending project and new people are signed in almost every week. Tins of meat, vegetable and fruit are all most welcome as well as toiletries (especially for men and toilet paper), cleaning products (washing powder, washing up liquid, floor and surface cleaning) and cooking ingredients (salt, pepper, herbs and spices, oil, vinegar, sugar, flour, mustard). Every donation can be left at Glebe House, Shoreham Lane, Riverhead, TN13 3BS. Thank you so much for your continuing support.
Our Sunday and weekday Masses are now open to those who are able to attend, but our normal programme of prayer, catechesis and pastoral events remains suspended. We may soon be able to revive some at least of the Adoration times. Funeral Masses are now possible - as are Weddings - but restrictions are in force, including a limit on numbers. Confessions are by appointment only.
We welcome Monsignor Matthew Dickens, who will celebrate the Otford Sunday Mass for the next four weeks, and Fr Mark Odion, MSP who will celebrate the Borough Green and West Kingsdown Sunday Masses for the next four weeks.
The Bishop of Plymouth has compared the resumption of public Masses to a return from exile, recalling the return of the Jewish people to worship in Jerusalem, after their Babylonian exile. We have been exiled from our churches, from the Sacraments, from our normal pastoral life. We cannot all return just yet, but at least we all know that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is now being publicly offered, for the good of the church, for the benefit of the world, and for the salvation of souls.
St Roch, pray for us.
St Joseph, pray for us.
St Thomas of Canterbury, pray for us.
St Bernadette, pray for us.
St Edith of Kemsing, pray for us.
Fr David Gibbons, KHS, Parish Priest of Sevenoaks
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