My dear brothers and sisters
The Catholic Bishops of Scotland have announced that from Thursday 19th March until further notice there will be NO public Mass celebrated in any Catholic Church in Scotland. You can read the full letter from the Bishop’s Conference at www.bcos.org.uk Therefore the obligation to go to Mass on Sunday has now been suspended and you do not need to go to Mass on Sunday until the Bishops of Scotland let us know.
Therefore here on our islands of Barra and Vatersay the last public Mass will be on Thursday 19th March (Feast of St. Joseph) until further notice. There will be no public Mass on Sunday or during the week. I will celebrate a private Mass each day on my own. Each day I will offer the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass for all those affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19), praying for all the Doctors and nurses and all in the NHS and all who work with the sick that they may be blessed in their good and hard work in battling this virus- praying for all in Government to guide us all in right decisions- and to pray for that peace and strength from our Lord Jesus to enter each of our hearts during these “strange and difficult times”.
The five Churches of Our Lady Star of the Sea in Castlebay, St. Brendan’s in Craigston, St. Barr’s in Northbay, St. Vincent’s in Eoligarry & Our Lady of the Waves & St. John on Vatersay will all remain OPEN. The Churches will be open for people to go and say their own personal prayers to our Lord Jesus.
If there is a Funeral (or Baptism or Wedding) it will only be attended by immediate family.
I will still be able to visit the sick and bring the Sacraments but only after guidance if it is safe and wise to do.
I will be restricting my movements and keeping myself to Castlebay Chapel House but I am always at the end of a phone- the parish number 01871 810267 or mobile number 07951128475 (you can text me if you wish). You can email firstname.lastname@example.org – you can keep updated with parish news on the parish website www.barracatholic.co.uk or parish news will be put on St. Barr’s Northbay Facebook page. If you have any questions- please just get in contact.
For Sunday Mass there are a lot of parishes in Scotland that have “web-cams”- you can watch Mass on your computer, ipad or iphone from a distance and still feel as if you are able to be at Mass. There will be No Chrism Mass in Oban this year and for Holy Week there will be no public Masses.
It’s a time to unite and pray that as quickly as this Coronavirus has entered our lives that it will quickly pass us by. We pray to God the Father, Son & Holy Spirit, Our Lady, God’s Angels and Saints to help us all during these difficult days. May God bless us all and keep us all strong in our faith.
Yours sincerely in Christ
Fr. John Paul Canon MacKinnon