You are probably wondering what the rest of this term holds following today's announcement that not all children will be back at school before the summer. We are awaiting full guidance from the government and will then plan accordingly and let you know. For the moment, we are continuing with the plans for Phase 2 next week and will be sending out details tomorrow to all those who requested places.
Mrs Thomas read us a lovely story with several key messages today and tomorrow it's Mrs Dineen with another scary one for you as well as Chapter 3 of The Extincts.
There's not much other news for you today, but here is an important message from our Bishop, Philip Egan, about the reopening of churches:
From Bishop Philip
It looks as if the government is set to allow the reopening of our churches, perhaps from next week (15th June). As I have said before, I reluctantly went along with the mandate to close our churches back in March, in part because of the safety aspects and in part not to be out of step with other dioceses. However, I have always felt it was not a right decision, especially given that shops, newsagents and even off-licenses were open. First, humans are natively spiritual persons, with emotional, mental and psychological needs and a pandemic with a major lockdown is surely just the time when people need to visit and pray in a church? And secondly, for Catholics, a church is not simply a ‘place of worship’: it’s the place where Jesus Christ is really and truly present among His people feeding and healing them in the Sacraments, instructing them with His Word and caring for them with His love. Consequently, I have been actively supporting the Bishops’ Conference in its efforts towards (safe) reopening and I wrote to the Secretary of State and to all 34 MPs in our Diocese to enlist their support. In the Diocese, our Crisis Management Team has drafted guidelines for parishes to reopen churches for private prayer (Phase One) and for the public celebration of the Sacred Liturgy (Phase Two). What is clear is that as in other sectors of life - transport, shops, work - reopening our churches, while COVID-19 remains a threat, is do-able but will not be easy. Local arrangements and resources will vary and it might be a while before some churches can reopen. In Guernsey, churches have already been reopened and so we will have much to learn from the experience of Fr. Bruce and the parishioners there. Those who are sick and those in the “vulnerable” category will be asked not to enter. Arrangements in churches will need to be in place with stewards to ensure hygiene and social distancing. Your parish will need you to help and volunteer! Many other arrangements will need to be put in place, especially when eventually the celebration of the Liturgy resumes. Please keep this matter in your prayers. We want our churches to reopen (safely) as soon as possible. Let us ask the Lord for a speedy end to the pandemic and for His guidance at this difficult time.