PUBLIC SERVICES SUSPENDED FROM FRIDAY EVENING – 20th MARCH 2020

Many of you will already have heard about the Hierarchies decision to suspend public worship whilst the Pandemic increases in our country.

Although this will have been an incredibly difficult decision to make it was, of course, the only sensible course of action.

As a result there will be no public celebrations of any kind in the parish from Friday evening (20th March 2020).

This also means that we have had to cancel the First Reconciliations on Friday evening.

However, the Church of Our Lady and Saint Patrick in Teignmouth will be open each day for private prayer and all will be welcome to come, bearing in mind the restrictions regarding our maintaining sensible and necessary precautions.

The situation is a fast changing one and so further information will be posted both online and on all three Church noticeboards.

The PPC will be meeting tonight after which further guidance on links for worshipping on line and other opportunities for supportive prayer and contact will be posted.

I do hope to be able to draw up a list of people who would be willing and able to assist in telephone contact or shopping etc for those self isolating or ill in the very near future. 

Bishop Mark is arranging for Mass to be available online from the Cathedral every morning at 11am and this will be available through the Diocesan and Cathedral websites.

We may only be partway through Lent but it is not as if we do not know what awaits us. We are not going to be surprised by His Resurrection and so let’s rejoice in that fact. He is Risen and He is in love with each and every one of us and that love remains whether we are able to gather as the Body or not. Where we are, there is God.

Here is a copy of the letter from the President and Vice-President on behalf of all the Bishops of the Conference

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, so many aspects of our lives must change. This includes the ways in which we publicly express our faith. It is very clear that, following official advice and in order to keep each other safe, save lives and support the NHS, at this time we must not gather for public acts of worship in our churches. This will begin from Friday evening, 20th March 2020, until further notice.

Our churches will remain open. They are not closing. They will be a focal point of prayer, where you will find solace and strength. In visiting our churches at this time, we will observe with great care the practices of hygiene and the guidance on social distancing.

However, the celebration of Mass, Sunday by Sunday and day by day, will take place without a public congregation.

Knowing that the Mass is being celebrated; joining in spiritually in that celebration; watching the live-streaming of the Mass; following its prayers at home; making an act of spiritual communion: this is how we share in the Sacrifice of Christ in these days. These are the ways in which we will sanctify Sunday, and indeed every day.

We want everyone to understand that in these emergency circumstances, and for as long as they last, the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days is removed. This is, without doubt, the teaching of the Church (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2181). This pandemic is the ‘serious reason’ why this obligation does not apply at this time.

You will find more details about the pathway of prayer and sacramental life we are now to take in the accompanying document and on the Bishops’ Conference website (www.cbcew.org.uk). Your own bishop and parish priest will provide further support, encouragement and information about our way of prayer together in the coming weeks.

The second vital aspect of these challenging times is our care for each other. There are so many ways in which we are to do this: being attentive to the needs of our neighbour, especially the elderly and vulnerable; contributing to our local food banks; volunteering for charitable initiatives and organisations; simply keeping in touch by all the means open to us.

During these disturbing and threatening times, the rhythm of the prayer of the Church will continue. Please play your part in it. The effort of daily kindness and mutual support for all will continue and increase. Please play your part in this too. For your commitment to this, we thank you.

‘The Lord is my shepherd, There is nothing I shall want.’

May God bless us all.

Vincent Cardinal Nichols – President

Archbishop Malcolm McMahon OP – Vice President

NATIONAL CALL TO PRAYER

Presidents of Churches Together in England have issued a call to prayer in the light of the Coronavirus pandemic. This is for all churches and people of prayer to join on Sunday 22nd March, Mothering Sunday. They write….

This Mothering Sunday, 22nd March, we are calling all churches to a National Day of Prayer and Action. At such a time as this, when so many are fearful and there is great uncertainty, we are reminded of our dependence on our loving Heavenly Father and the future that he holds.

At 7pm this Sunday, light a candle in the windows of your homes as a visible symbol of the light of life, Jesus Christ, our source and hope in prayer.

Whether you are continuing to worship as congregations or not, we have the great privilege and freedom to be able to call upon God, wherever we are, individually and corporately, for healing in our nation. We would pray for all in leadership at this time, making decisions about the containment of the COVID-19 virus, for those working in health and social care, and especially for the most vulnerable, whether elderly or those with underlying health conditions.

There are already stories being told of wonderful acts of kindness across neighbourhoods. Alongside your prayers, take the opportunity to telephone or email someone who is isolated, buy some additional food for your local foodbank, or offer to deliver shopping for an elderly neighbour. We may not be able to touch physically, but we can make connections in so many other ways.

In the meantime, do please attend to all the government health advice that will be issued, and look out for resources from your specific church governing bodies. At least for those of us in the global North, we do seem to be in unusual times, and wisdom and flexibility about worship gatherings are a key part of our Christian discipleship during this period.

We note that this call to prayer and action comes on Mothering Sunday: a time of thankfulness, remembering especially mothers who have served us, often in very costly ways. It is also a very mixed day for many. For some the remembrance is painful, and for others Mothering Sunday is a reminder of disappointment or loss. In many ways, this period under the shadow of the coronavirus will be prompting similarly diverse reactions and so it seems especially appropriate that the call to prayer is made this Sunday. At this time of uncertainty join in with the National Day of Prayer and Action, lighting a candle of hope.

“Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you” 1 Peter 5:7

Presidents of Churches Together in England Archbishop Justin Welby, The Archbishop of Canterbury Cardinal Vincent Nichols, The Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster Revd Dr Hugh Osgood, The Free Churches Moderator Archbishop Angaelos of London, CTE President for the Orthodox Churches Pastor Agu Irukwu, CTE Pentecostal President

WORLD WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY 2020

The theme for this year’s week of prayer for Christian Unity is ‘Unusual Kindness’ where we are invited to see God working through people and places which offer unusual kindness.

The resources for this year have been put together by churches in Malta and Gozo and cover a variety of topics, including hospitality. The resources are based around the record in Acts of Paul’s shipwreck on Malta and the coming of the Gospel to the island.

There is a unity service in Teignmouth at the United Reformed Church at 3pm on Sunday 19th January.

There are also daily prayer reflections in churches around the town:

Saturday 18th January at 12 noon – St Michael the Archangel led by Roderick Withnell
Monday 20th January at 12 noon – Riviera Function Room, Mars Hill Church led by Jane Ferns
Tuesday 21st January at 12 noon – Baptist Church led by Jamie Redfern
Wednesday 22nd January at 12 noon – United Reformed Church led by Charlie and Bev Stockley
Thursday 23rd January at 7:30pm – St James’ Church led by Marcus Thomas
Friday 24th January at 12 noon – Our Lady & St Patrick led by Deacon Anthony Carey
Saturday 25th January at 12 noon – Methodist Church led by Catherine Wagstaff