Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint John’s,
Last Sunday the Church worldwide celebrated the great Feast of Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles gathered in the upper room. For many it is affectionately known as the “Birthday of the Church” because it was on that day, after receiving the Holy Spirit and his gifts, the followers of Jesus bravely and joyously opened the locked door and went out into the world to begin the work of the Church, telling people of the goodness and love of God through the teachings of Jesus. Each year the great celebrations of Pentecost mark the end of the Easter Season begun on Easter Sunday and the beginning of the return to Ordinary Time in the liturgical calendar. It’s hard to believe how much the world and us personally have gone through since the lockdown began mid Lent on the feast of Saint Joseph! That day we asked our God to watch over and protect us as we invoked the intercession of Our Lady, Saint Joseph and the angels and saints.
All these weeks later, having journeyed through Lent and the entire Easter season, we are still not yet able to return to Mass and the sacraments and I know this pains you as much as it does me and Fr Laurent. Through this difficult time, Holy Mass has been offered twice per day in our parish church for all your intentions and for an end to the horrid virus. Rosaries and Marian devotions have been prayed- all in private in the church but I know our prayers here have linked with yours at home every single day. As I said to you before, I am so cheered and lifted up by your messages and stories of how you have been keeping up your prayers, attendance at Mass on the internet (for some, travelling the world each day for Mass!), your kindness in reaching out to others and generally living your faith daily in prayer, words and actions. Thank you also for your donations to the parish handed in to the house and to all those who have set up standing orders to the parish through your bank. Well done to you!! Please keep up the good work.
On a very happy and positive note, the Bishops have asked parishes to begin putting in place what is necessary for the re-opening of churches, so things are certainly moving in the right direction!! This will still be a few weeks away and will begin with opening for private prayers and not the full celebration of Mass and everything is, of course, all dependent on the virus not increasing in our country but at least there is light at the end of what has been a long and dark tunnel. I will keep you up to date on this website with all that is happening but for now, please read the letter from the Bishops of Scotland attached and also the appeal for help in putting things in place for the re-opening of our parish church. There is also a link to the Bishops’ documents page, highlighting everything that is happening in moving towards the safe re-opening of churches and other church institutions.
This Sunday is Trinity Sunday, when we are called to reflect on the Holy Trinity-- Father, Son and Holy Spirit- three Persons who constitute the one God whom we worship and adore. Let’s pray in a special way this weekend for the blessings of God upon each of us, our families and especially upon all those affected by the virus.
May God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit protect and bless you and those dear to you!
Fr Joe and Fr Laurent
Appeal from Fr Joe: PLEASE HELP SO THAT WE CAN RE-OPEN ST JOHN’S CHURCH!!
Please God, if the virus remains at a low level of contagion, we will be able to begin re-opening our parish church in a few weeks’ time. Initially this will be for periods of private prayer each day and eventually the resumption of Holy Mass. To do this, Saint John’s needs your help!
Before we can re-open, there must be necessary restrictions in place regarding numbers, social distancing and strict cleaning protocols. At this stage I am needing people to volunteer to help welcome parishioners when they arrive, show them to seats and guide them when leaving the church. I am also needing volunteers to help with cleaning the church after every Mass (when Mass resumes) but before that, when open for private prayer, to keep watch and wipe down seats after they have been used. All cleaning materials and PPE will be provided by the parish. This must all be in place before we will be allowed to re-open.
There are, however, some restrictions on who can volunteer. All volunteers must be under the age of 70 and have no underlying serious health problems. (This basically means if you qualify for the flu jab each autumn, you CANNOT volunteer). Obviously the restrictions are there to keep everyone as safe as possible and reduce risk of infection.
I know right away there are a number of you who will be very disappointed at not being able to volunteer- like many of our usual team of fantastic cleaners who keep the church immaculate from week to week—not giving away any ages, ladies!!—or a number of the parish Saint Vincent de Paul who are our normal stewards and passkeepers.
Please God those unable to volunteer at present will resume their good work at a later date but for the immediate future, what I am needing is volunteers under the age of 70 with no underlying serious health conditions. If you are interested and would like to do this for God, the parish and fellow parishioners, please phone the church house on 0141 876 1553 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to give me your contact details. The sooner we get the list of volunteers in place, the sooner we will be able to re-open when given the green light by the Bishop and government!! Conversely, without the volunteers, we will not be able to re-open, so please think about it.