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