Restricted Sunday Masses to begin: the Scottish Government has announced that restricted public Masses can take place after 15th July. Therefore next weekend (18th / 19th July ) there will be restricted public Masses in Craigston, Northbay & Castlebay Church at the usual weekend times.
Saturday Vigil Mass at 6.00pm in Craigston.
Sunday in Northbay at 9.30am
Sunday in Castlebay at 11.30am.
However it is with restricted numbers and therefore you must get in touch with Canon John Paul so that your name can be added to a list. All names have to be recorded and then you will then be allocated a place in the church. You can’t just appear at the church and go to any seat.
It’s amazing to think that we have come to the day that we have to book seats in the church-it is a sad thought but these are strange times we are living in and we have to work our way safely through it all.
If you feel uncomfortable about going back to Church just now then don’t go. If you have any hesitation the simple answer is to stay at home and continue to watch Mass online. There is no pressure to go. The Bishops of Scotland have suspended the Sunday Obligation.
After the 19th July Canon John Paul will once again start a daily weekday Mass going from church to church as he did before and one important thing to keep in mind -you might prefer to go to a midweek Mass instead of Sunday and treat that midweek Mass as your “Sunday Mass”- keep that in mind!.
We are slowly moving forward and we are slowing trying to find out the best way to get through this COVID-19 pandemic and to try and get back to Mass and back to some kind of normality. Rules and regulations and restrictions are always changing. We just have to be patient and not be complacent.
Face coverings: one of the “new things” we have to get used to is wearing face coverings at Mass. We now have to wear one if we go to the shop or post office etc. The same with going to church now. Of course if you have a health condition that prevents you from wearing one, that’s fine.
Churches open for private prayer: The churches continue to be open for private prayer on different days from 10.00am-6.00pm
Sunday…..Castlebay & Northbay
When you enter the church your priority is always to clean your hands first with the hand sanitiser gel. It might be useful to always have your own hand gel in your pocket along with your own face covering. However there will be Hand Sanitiser and face coverings in the church porch of each of the churches. As always keep a social distance of 2m from anybody else in the church. A good practice is to wipe down the area you use in the church.
Fr. Colin MacInnes: on the 9th July Fr. Colin MacInnes celebrated his Golden anniversary of Priesthood. A wonderful milestone to reach- 50 years of ministry. Of course in his 50 years of Priesthood he has been an assistant priest in Castlebay Parish when he was a young priest and then later he returned as Parish Priest of Northbay and then he went to the mission of Ecuador for over 30 years helping the people there. Canon John Paul went to visit Fr. Colin in his parish of St. Mary’s in Benbecula and brought with him a card and gifts from the parishioners of Barra & Vatersay. Fr. Colin wishes to thank everyone for their prayers, love and support over these many years of his Priesthood.
Requiem Masses: if there is a death on the island -the immediate family (about 20 people) of the deceased will be able to attend the Requiem Mass with Canon John Paul. At the Requiem Mass the guidelines of using hand sanitiser, keeping social distance (unless you are from the same household) are to be followed. Also the family will have to write down the names of those who attend the Requiem Mass and gives the names to Canon John Paul.
Welcomers & Church Pass-keepers: Fr. John Paul will meet this week with those who will be “welcomers” and pass-keepers at the Masses. He will phone those involved and organise a date and time.
Church Cleaners: Canon John Paul wishes to thank those who have volunteered to help clean. A plan for cleaning them once the Masses begin will be organised soon.