14th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Sunday 5 July 2020

Please contact the parish to receive the newsletter by email each week.

Message from Canon Kristian

Dear Parishioners

As you will have heard, this weekend marks a major easing of the “lockdown” restrictions, which includes permission for churches to start to hold services open to the public.  Therefore, as of this coming Tuesday, public Masses will be celebrated each day, except Monday and there will be two Masses at St James on Sunday.  However, “it’s Mass, but not as we know it, Jim”, to paraphrase a well-known statement of Mr McCoy, the doctor in the original series of Star Trek!  As with nearly all things in life at the moment, there are changes which must abide by the regulations of social distancing and the adoption of practices which will impede the spread of COVID-19, and you will find more detail about how these are being applied to Mass until further notice.

The biggest change is that it will no longer be possible just to turn up at Mass and expect to be permitted to come into church. The seating capacity of a church is set by means of a risk assessment and, once set, it must be strictly adhered to.  By rearranging the pews within the church, it has been possible to fit between 17 and 30 people (depending on size of single households and exclusive bubbles) in the church at any one time for Mass, adhering to the “2 metre” distancing rule.  That means that places are limited and it is really important that you let Rosie in the Parish Office know when you are planning to come to Mass.  If you don’t, it may be that when you arrive there will not be any spaces left and the stewards will have no alternative but to refuse entry and no one wants to find themselves in that position.  I realise that this sounds both strange and incongruous to us – to turn people away from Mass – but remember that the regulations that we are having to follow at the moment are to ensure the well-being of everyone in our community and we should look upon these minor inconveniences as concrete expressions of our Christian love for the sisters and brothers of our one family.  So please read the Newsletter carefully, noting particularly the fact that the Bishops are still suspending the so-called “Sunday obligation”, so that people are encouraged to come to Mass during the week if they can, rather than on Sunday, so that everyone gets the chance to be at Mass once a week.  Our thoughtfulness in this regard should be a concrete sign of the spiritual gift of generosity based on the needs of others rather than our own desires.  I am sure we will soon adapt to this new way of doing things for the time being.

Things will be kept under frequent review and, if the limited seating available is not sufficient to cope with the numbers coming to Mass over a week, that may require us to undertake an even more major reorganisation of the interior of the church to be able to increase the number of socially distanced seats.

Along with the Newsletter there is the usual aid to prayer on the Sunday Gospel and an Update from CAFOD about its current campaigns. These are available to download in PDF.  There are two gatherings on Zoom this week, one on Sunday at 11.00am and the other on Wednesday at 11.00am.  The timings of these meetings in the future might need to be changed, but that is something those who come to the meetings this week can discuss.  Please contact the parish for details on how to join these Zoom meetings.

In the meantime, let us pray that the easing of the lockdown restrictions this weekend goes smoothly and that people will behave responsibly so that we do not suffer a renewed spike in the spread of COVID-19, with all the serious consequences that would entail.

We entrust our Catholic community and the wider community to the care of Him who calls those “who labour and are overburdened” to Himself so that we might find rest in the embrace of His love if we are feeling weighed down and embattled by the impact of the virus or by other concerns.

With the assurance of my prayers for you all and looking forward to seeing some of you at Mass.


Fr Kristian

Opening St James for Mass

From this week, weekday Masses open to the community will be celebrated on Tuesday at 10.00am, Wednesday and Friday at 12noon, and on Thursday at 6.30pm.  Sunday Masses will start next weekend on Saturday at 6.00pm and on Sunday at 10.00am and 11.30am.

In order to provide the most protection for those who come to Mass, it has been decided to maintain the “2 metre” distancing rule and therefore face coverings are not obligatory.  This does mean, however, that spaces at Mass will be very limited – between 17 and 30 people, depending on the number in a household or “exclusive bubble”.

You will recall from last weekend’s newsletter that the Bishops of England and Wales have continued to suspend the “Sunday Mass Obligation” in order to encourage those who can to take part in Mass during the week, thereby leaving the weekend Masses for those who are working or who otherwise cannot get to Mass during the week. So PLEASE BE GENEROUS and think of others when deciding which Mass to come to.

As places are limited, and once they are taken we are required to turn anyone else away, we would ask you to contact Rosie at the Parish Office, preferably by email, to let her know that you would like to attend a specific Mass.  She will then be able to tell you whether there is space or not.  If there is space, she will make a note of your details as this is required as a part of the Government “Test and Trace” scheme should there be an outbreak of Covid-19 in the parish.  If you would prefer to use the telephone, Rosie is in the Parish Office Monday-Thursday 10.00am-1.00pm, Friday 10.00am-2.00pm.

National Guidance from the Bishops’ Conference regarding the celebration of Mass has also been issued, which the Bishop has made obligatory throughout the Diocese. Mass will be a bit different from what we are used to. Just to highlight a few of the changes:  Masses must be relatively short to limit the time within an enclosed space, so homilies must be brief, there will be no Prayers of the Faithful and no Sign of Peace. Singing is not permitted, though music can be played.  Holy Communion may only be received under one kind and only into the hand.  The “Amen” response to “The Body of Christ/The Blood of Christ” will be said together before Holy Communion is given out, so that Holy Communion is received in silence with the communicant stretching his/her arms out to full length, with one hand on top of the other opened as flat as possible.  The priest will be separated from the communicant by a barrier to ensure that the social distancing is maintained.  People must follow the indications of the Stewards with regards to when to go to Holy Communion and to the directions out of and back into their pew.

No collection bags will be passed around and people are encouraged to give by Standing Order if possible.  Offerings may be deposited in baskets which are placed at the entrance and exit to the church.

Whether in the carpark, entering the church building or during the celebration of Mass, please make sure you maintain two metres distance between yourself and another person, unless you are members of the same household or they form part of your “exclusive bubble”.  Hands must be sanitised both on entering and on leaving the church.

Please be aware that the toilets and the kitchen are out of use at this time.

At least two Stewards (three on Sundays) will need to be present at each Mass to ensure the observance of social distancing, to take the details of those present, if necessary, and to sanitise the church afterwards. It would be great to have more volunteers to take on this role, so that the responsibility can be shared across the parish community. Please contact Canon Kristian or Rosie if you can offer some of your time.  (Remember that those who are classed as clinically extremely vulnerable cannot act as Stewards, but those who are classed as clinically vulnerable, which includes anyone over 70, can act as a Steward alongside a person who is not classed as clinically vulnerable)

Opening St Boniface for Private Prayer or Mass

There are no plans as yet to re-open St Boniface, but this is being kept under review.  In any event, work on the stained glass windows and other leaded lights is taking place at the moment and will not be completed until towards the end of July.  The rose window has had to be removed to a workshop and it will take about three weeks before it will be returned, so no plans can be considered until then.

However, it will still be very challenging to re-open St Boniface under the present restrictions. Even if it were deemed appropriate to adopt the “one metre plus” rule with the compulsory wearing of face coverings, there would still be a very small number of people able to attend Mass due to the size and shape of the church and the position of its entrance/exit points.  Also, two Stewards must be on duty whenever a church is opened for private prayer or for Mass, so volunteers to act as Stewards at St Boniface will be essential.  Please let Rosie know at the parish office if you would be willing to act as a Steward when St. Boniface can be re-opened, bearing in mind the restrictions noted above in italics.

Parish Mass Books

Sets of Mass Books can be collected from the parish office during office hours or from the hall when the church is open for Mass.  We will deliver if you are unable to collect them. The books are being given away for free, to encourage you to read the Mass readings at home in preparation for listening to them being read at Mass, but donations are always gratefully received!

Alternatively, there are various digital options to access the Mass readings on your phone, computer, tablet or e-reader. A list of some digital resources that parishioners may find useful has been added to the parish website under the Resources section.

Imaginative Contemplation of the Gospel

A handout to help us to pray with this Sunday’s Gospel using our imagination is available under the Resources section of the parish website. There is an opportunity to pray this Gospel together in our weekly on-line prayer group. Contact for the Zoom access details.  All welcome.

CAFOD Campaigns Update

A CAFOD Campaigns Update for June 2020 is available to download here.

Good News from the Catholic Children’s Society (Plymouth)!

In April and May, with £2000 funding from the Devon Coronavirus Fund (DCF), through its Essential Grants programme, the CCSP was able to support 10 families by purchasing basic household necessities like cookers, fridges, washing machines, beds and cots.  Not only has the charity been awarded a further £4000 from the DCF, it has also received £6000 from the National Lottery Community Fund which will enable around 30 more families to be supported with similar grants, with the aim of preventing an immediate crisis from threatening the stability of family life.

Requiescant in Pace

Please pray for the souls of Stella Todd, a former parishioner who died recently, and of Marlene Trewe, who died this week.  May they rest in peace. Our thoughts and prayers are also with their families and friends who are grieving their loss.

Masses and Online Gatherings this week

Please ensure that you have booked with the parish office before attending Mass.

Sunday 5 July – 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

  • Holy Mass without a congregation at 10.00am
  • After Mass Gathering on Zoom at 11.00am

Tuesday 7 July

  • Holy Mass at 10.00am

Wednesday 8 July – Weekday

  • Holy Mass at 12noon (Coffee Morning on Zoom at 11.00am)

Thursday 9 July – Weekday

  • Holy Mass at 6.30pm

Friday 10 July – Weekday

  • Holy Mass at 12noon

Saturday 11 July – St Benedict, Patron of Europe

  • Vigil Mass at 6.00pm (15th Sunday in Ordinary Time)