First Holy Communions: it was planned that the First Holy Communions for our island would take place next Sunday on the Feast of Corpus Christi. Sadly as we know this has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus. It is always a day that Canon John Paul and all the parishioners look forward to- such a happy and holy day for our parishes. This year we had a big group of 18 boys and girls preparing for the sacraments. Once the Schools go back and when the Churches reopen to public Masses we will start again the Sacrament classes and then plan another date for the First Holy Communions. Canon John Paul sends his blessings and prayers in a special way to the 18 boys and girls who should have been making their first Holy Communion. One day we all look forward to that happy celebration!
Feast of St. Columba: this coming Tuesday (9th June) is the feast day of the patron Saint of our Diocese- St. Columba. In a special way this Tuesday we pray to St. Columba to bless and protect our Diocese, Bishop Brian, our priests and religious and all the lay faithful. May the intercession of St. Columba keep us all strong in our faith in these difficult times. St. Columba…. pray for us. Bishop Brian will live-stream a holy hour at 6.30pm on-line on Tuesday 9th June.
Bishops Conference of Scotland: our Bishops have recently produced documents that have been sent to the Scottish Government to look over in regard how best to move forward in opening our Churches. To see these documents please go online to the Scottish Bishops conference website www.bcos.org.uk/COVID19 and you will see for yourself the ways that will be taken to move forward. As we know the Scottish Government is working in phases just now – we are in phase 1 and it will be in phase 2 that church doors could open again for private prayer and then in phase 3 or 4 that small public Masses could then begin to take place but only if the proper procedures are in place.
Of course when Public Masses start- they will be with restricted numbers and also there will have to be a plan for seats allocated. Some pews will have to be blocked off. There has to be 2 metre space between each individual unless you are from the same household. Hand sanitiser stations will have to be available. As you enter the church and leave the church you will have to sanitise your hands. Also you will have to wear a face covering at all times in the church- even in private prayer. Keeping the Churches clean and sanitised will be a high priority and so we will need help to keep our Churches clean more often. There will have to be pass-keepers to show people to their seat in the church and to guide people when they want to go to Holy Communion and also to help people when they exit the church. Canon John Paul was trying to work out roughly how many could each church hold with the new restrictions- Castlebay Church 36 ; Craigston Church 26 ; Northbay Church 26; Vatersay church 18; Eoligarry church 16. These are the very basic estimate numbers- families could sit together and therefore numbers would go up. Canon John Paul will be looking for volunteers to help in cleaning of the churches and also volunteers to help as pass-keepers. Yes we do have people who already volunteer for cleaning etc however they should not feel pressure to do it. There is a lot to plan out and over the weeks that lie ahead a plan will be put in place.
The Month of June is the Month of the Sacred Heart: we have now entered the month of June which is the month of the great devotion to the Sacred Heart. The devotion to the Sacred Heart is one of the most popular devotions in the church. In most homes there will be a picture of the Sacred Heart or a statue to the Sacred Heart. This year the Feast of the Sacred Heart is in Friday 19th June and then on the following day is the feast of the Immaculate heart of Mary. Let us use this month to offer special prayers to the Sacred Heart of Jesus to bless each of our hearts and homes in these strange and unsettling times.
Watching Holy Mass on the TV or Internet: we cannot physically go to Church for Holy Mass just now and so we must now use the Digital World. The Catholic channel EWTN on SKY channel 588 is very good. You can also go online and go to “Church services TV” or go to MCN media and we are spoilt for choice for the number of Masses being celebrated live on the internet. As always Bishop Brian is also live-streaming his daily Mass at 10am.
Sunday Collection: Canon John Paul wishes to thank those who have gone online or gone to the bank to help support the parish in their donations. It is very much appreciated especially in these difficult times. Remember Castlebay parish looks after Craigston Church and Vatersay Church . Northbay Parish looks after Eoligarry Church. So if you want to support your church then please use one of the following account details;
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