Star of the Sea, Castlebay, The Isle of Barra. HS9 5XD.
Phone 01871 810267
Email Addres

Bhileag 5th July 2020- Sea Sunday

Church re-opening for private prayer: our churches have now opened for private prayer. Instead of all the Churches being open at same time; Canon John Paul wishes the churches to be open alternatively on a timetable. On Sunday Castlebay & Northbay churches will be open at the same time  and then on Monday there will be no access to any church. The Churches will be open from 10.00am-6.00pm


Sunday……….Castlebay   &   Northbay 

Monday………Churches closed







One of the reasons to leave the Churches clear for a couple of days  is because of the  Government advice that the virus can remain on wooden surfaces for up to 2 days so it is good to keep the churches empty for a couple of days.

After 6pm or at another suitable time that is suitable- cleaners will go into the church and clean it.

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. You will see that there are only certain pews available to sit/kneel in the church. If you are lighting a votive candle to wipe down the lighter with the antibacterial wipes -also another good practice is to wipe down the area you use in the church too with a wipe.


Requiem Masses: during phase 2 of “lockdown” if there is a death on the island -the immediate family (about 15-20 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: when the Churches eventually open for restricted Sunday Masses (which is hopefully  a couple weeks away) there will be a need for parishioners to be Welcomers and pass-keepers. Welcomers are parishioners who can meet people at the door of the church, make sure they have used sanitiser gel on their hand, making sure they have a face covering. And then inform them of their seat in the Church. Pass-keepers will help to direct to seats, to holy Communion and how to exit the church. If you can help be a Welcomer or Pass-keeper please get in contact with Canon John Paul.


Church Cleaners: If you are willing to help clean then please get in contact with Canon John Paul.


Public Masses: When we move into phase 3 of the “route Map of coming out of lockdown” there will be the opportunity to go to a Sunday Public Mass but it will be with restricted numbers. So if you begin to think just now what you would plan to do- whether you or your family are going to go to Sunday Mass -could you let Fr. John Paul know so that he can work out numbers and see if extra Sunday Masses need to be organised.Fr. John Paul will leave a sheet at the back of Castlebay, Northbay & Craigston Church and you can put your name down or you can phone/email/text Canon John Paul to let him know. When the Public Masses begin you will then be allocated a seat in the church.  Please note there is no obligation to go to Sunday Mass just now until the Bishops lift the suspension. Also if you are being shielded or being advised by the doctor or Government to stay at home- please pay attention to that advice.


Sea Sunday: today  is Sea Sunday when we usually pray for all our seafarers and for their safety. Let us always offer a special prayer for the safety of all our Fishermen and all seafarers. Normally we would celebrate the Fishermen’s  Mass and Blessing of Boats that Sunday- sadly of course this year it is all cancelled.


“Arandora Star” Anniversary: The 2nd July 2020 marks the 80th anniversary of the tragedy of the Arandora Star tragedy. Back in 1940 the ship was torpedoed by a German U-boat when it left Liverpool heading for Italy. So many bodies were washed ashore the Irish coastline and also the Scottish coastline and even washed ashore on these islands. Enrico Muzio & Oreste Fisanotti are laid to rest in Borve & Eoligarry Graveyard. Also over on South Uist Baldassare Plescia was laid to rest in the Daliburgh Cemetery of Hallan. We remember all who died in that tragedy. We pray for their eternal rest and pray for their families and loved ones at this time.


Reminder: if you plan to go to Sunday Mass when the Public Masses begin remember  that the Masses will be with restricted numbers. Therefore if you plan to go please write your name on the list  that is in Castlebay church, or Northbay church or Craigston Church. Canon John Paul will need the names of those who wish to go on a list so that a plan for seating can be organised.


Sacrament of Confession: Canon John Paul will be available to hear Confessions; in Castlebay Church Confessional: Saturday 10am-10.30am. Northbay Church Confessional  on Saturday 12 noon-12.30pm. Please note that there will be no “face to face” confession.  Please contact Canon John Paul if another day or time suits.


Sunday Collection: it is now over 3 months since there has been a Public Sunday Mass and therefore there has been no Sunday collections to support the parish since then. Canon John Paul wishes to thank those who have been supporting the parish financially in the meantime either by going to the bank and making a donation to the parish or handing a donation directly into the Chapel house. We are still weeks away from restricted Public Masses and it is important to look at ways to help support the parishes financially. The easiest way is of course through the bank- whether a one off donation or to set up a direct debit. Any support is very much appreciated.

RCD Argyll & the Isles Castlebay Mission    Account No: 65627538     Sort Code 839125     Coop Bank

RCD Argyll & the Isles Northbay Mission      Account No: 65628061     Sort Code 839125    Coop Bank