Coronavirus Response for the parishes of St Teresa, Norris Green and Our Lady Queen of Martyrs & St Swithin, Croxteth

Following guidance from the Bishops’ Conference and Archbishop Malcolm, in order to keep each other safe, save lives and support the NHS, public worship in our churches will cease from Friday evening 20th March until further notice. The guidance will be reviewed weekly and can be found on the Archdiocesan website at www.liverpoolcatholic.org.uk. You can watch a video of Cardinal Nichols speaking about our response to this crisis at the Bishop’s Conference website www.cbcew.org.uk .

We urge all our parishioners to follow the public health advice: those over 70 or with underlying health conditions or possible symptoms of the virus should self-isolate at home; everyone else should avoid social gatherings and unnecessary travel, wash hands regularly and observe social distancing.

Both churches will be open to those not self-isolating for individual private prayer, with no organised services, 11.00am-3.00pm on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Anyone coming to church to pray will need to observe the hygiene guidelines and maintain a distance from other people in the church. We will need volunteers to act as stewards during these times.

The priests will continue to celebrate Mass with no deacons or lay faithful present, offering prayers for everyone. We do not have facilities for live streaming of Mass in either of our churches at the moment but each day a Mass celebrated by the Archbishop or other senior clergy will be live streamed on the Archdiocesan website at www.liverpoolcatholic.org.uk.

The obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days does not apply as long as the pandemic lasts.

There will be no pastoral visits or Communion visits (including by Eucharistic Ministers) to those who are self-isolating but telephone support will be offered.

The priests will be able to give the Sacrament of the Sick where necessary, following strict hygiene procedures.

Baptisms and Weddings will be deferred until public guidance indicates it is safe for congregations to gather or, in cases of necessity, celebrated privately with only immediate family present.

The preparation programmes for First Communion and Confirmation will be suspended for the time being and we will review after Easter whether the celebrations can go ahead as planned in June.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) may be provided on request, observing hygiene and social distancing requirements.

Funeral services will take place only at a crematorium or cemetery, attended only by immediate family and subject to any further conditions the crematorium or cemetery may lay down, with the opportunity for Memorial Masses to be celebrated at a later date.

St Teresa’s Parish Centre and the Community Room at Our Lady Queen of Martyrs will close on Friday 20th March. All regular group meetings will be suspended. Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Parish Centre is managed by the Archdiocesan Parish Centres Management Company and will be following Government guidance for clubs and pubs. All regular group meetings will be suspended.

Our parish schools are closing on Friday 20th March, except for vulnerable children and those whose parents are identified by the Government as key workers.

It is important that we offer each other whatever help and support we can, whether that is a phone call to check someone is OK or someone who can move about offering to do shopping and other tasks for those who must stay at home. Human contact, whether by phone, Skype or in person, is vital for all of us.

If you would like to volunteer your help in our parish communities, please email or leave a phone message on either of the parish office numbers, indicating what your own situation is and what help you can offer.

If you need to talk to someone about your own needs or those of someone you look after, please contact either of the parish offices by email or phone.

In the midst of this crisis, we hold onto our faith in the God who loves us all and who can bring good out of the least promising situations, and we can encourage and pray for each other. The upsurge of generosity and goodwill in communities, with people volunteering to care for each other and support the most vulnerable, is surely a sign of God’s love present and active in these difficult times.