Covid-19 Updates

COVID-19 LATEST UPDATE

This update: 21st January 2022

Following all the Government, NHS and Catholic Bishops’ guidance, we continue to act with great care – in the spirit of “Love your neighbour!” Restrictions are easing in England, but cases of Covid remain high in our community. The following arrangements apply for all Masses.

  • Please do not come to church if you have any Covid symptoms (headache, persistent cough, breathlessness, high temperature). Please follow NHS guidance – stay at home, get a test, isolate until you have the result.  
  • Please take a Lateral Flow Test, if at all possible, before you come to Mass. This – along with having your vaccine and booster – is the best possible way to keep everyone safe.
  • We very strongly encourage that face coverings are worn while in church, unless you are medically exempt. From 27th January this is no longer a legal requirement, but we know that face coverings dramatically reduce the spread of Covid, and wearing them is a kindness to those around us.
  • Windows and doors will be open, to ensure the greatest possible ventilation.
  • Sanitiser will be provided by the doors.

The practical arrangements for the celebration of Mass are:

  • Congregational singing is permitted, with a mask, and the choir can also sing.
  • At Communion, you will be guided by a Steward, one half of the church at a time, to keep minimal “brush past” contact going up and down the aisle. Communion will be distributed at the altar step, and at the font. Communion will be distributed under one kind, i.e. just the host, and not the chalice. We ask that you continue to receive the host into your hand, and not on the tongue.

Please get the vaccine, if you have not already done so

The Livestream remains, with the new permanent link: https://stream.seccomgroup.com/channel/st-edward. This is to help all those who are unable to return to Mass, or who do not yet feel secure in doing so.

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We continue to pray for all of those affected by Covid-19. We think especially of those who have lost loved ones, and of the many parishioners who work in Queens and other local hospitals; their work remains immense, relentless and exhausting. We think of teachers who are juggling ever-changing directives from Government, and of young people who have had exams cancelled. We pray for those working in the emergency services, key workers, and essential workers, and we offered special Masses each Thursday in Lent for those who have served at the heart of the pandemic. We are very mindful of those in the community who live alone, those who are shielding, and medically vulnerable. This is a time for each of us to hold the whole community in prayer.

We are very hopeful that vaccinations will make an enormous difference across the country and the world, and encourage everyone offered a vaccine to take it. We thank those from within our community, and across Romford, who are helping at vaccination centres, as well as those continuing to volunteer at testing centres.

We again stress that – ever since March 2020 – the Bishops have suspended the obligation to attend Sunday Mass. The Livestream is there to help everyone access Mass safely, and from your homes. Nothing can replace receiving the Eucharist, but in a time of such crisis Spiritual Communion is available to everyone, and helps keep everyone safe. Most certainly, do not leave your home for any reason if you have Covid symptoms, and make sure you get a test as soon as you can. And do not come to church if you have medical conditions that make you more vulnerable to Covid. You should be shielding.

It is also the case that the church is a much needed sacred space, an oasis for prayer and peace, and very helpful for people in navigating such uncertain times. We have kept the church open except for those moments when we were instructed to close, as we believe that closing the church doors would, for some, be a cause of despair, and very damaging.

If you are alone and need help, please do reach out and let us know; there are volunteers who will readily help with shopping, picking up prescriptions, etc. If you are struggling with loss of income, we can provide you with food for you and your family, as best we can.

Please call or email at any time – especially if you know someone who is alone and needs a visit, or any other support.

Livestream

To access the Livestream go to our dedicated Livestream page for links to Masses (click here).

Church open

The church is open Monday – Friday, approx 8.30am – 4pm, and whenever Mass is being celebrated, usually from about half an hour before Mass begins. This is an opportunity for private prayer and donations to the food bank.

Our usual Mass schedule is:

Wednesday 12.15pm, Thursday 9am, Friday 9am

Saturday 6.30pm, Sunday 9.30 and 11.30am.

Please check the latest newsletter for any variations to the schedule.

During the times the church is open we are also serving as a donation point for local foodbanks; anything donated will be vital food for local families. Especially useful at the moment are toiletries – soap, shampoo and toothpaste. You can also bring tins, cereal, and anything with a long sell-by date. We will regularly highlight goods which local foodbanks tell us are most needed in any one week.

We are sending a regular email to all parishioners – if we do not yet have your email address, then send us an email (Romford@dioceseofbrentwood.org) and we will add you to the list.

If you know anyone who is on their own at this time, we have a “phone tree” via the SVP, to ensure parishioners are telephoned regularly, as a way to combat loneliness. If anyone is in any particular need regarding shopping, etc., we can help arrange things for them. Just let us know by phone or email.