Solemnity of St Peter and St Paul

Sunday 28 June 2020

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Message from Canon Kristian

Dear Parishioners

As usual, this email brings you the weekly Newsletter together with a number of linked items.  You will have heard the good news that the Government has now given the “green light” for churches to begin to open for public worship from July 4, and so you have a copy of the letter from the four Metropolitan Archbishops of England linked to the Newsletter which addresses this issue got us as Catholics.  Having just got to grips with opening St James for periods of private prayer, it is now necessary to put some thought into how best to arrange St James for the starting of public celebration of Mass.  I am hoping that the first public Masses will happen during the week after next weekend and the first public Sunday Masses the weekend after that.  As with the private prayer sessions, two Stewards have to be on duty at all times when the church is open, so there will be a need to ensure that we have sufficient people to undertake that role when Masses are started.  More details about the way we will celebrate Mass whilst the Covid-19 virus continues to be in circulation will be included in next week’s Newsletter and on the parish website. A Message from Bishop Mark is also imminent, which I will email to you all once it has arrived.

As I have explained in the Newsletter, due to the on-going repair of the stained glass windows, which were damaged as a result of petty vandalism, and the difficulties with regards to its size and layout, I do not expect to be able to open St Boniface either for private prayer or for Mass until towards the end of July.  Before then, I will need to ensure that there are enough Stewards available to be in attendance when the church is open,  so volunteers to undertake that role at St Boniface are a necessity.

Along with all this, we have the usual guided meditation on this Sunday’s Gospel by Monika Manser.  This Sunday we celebrate the Solemnity of St Peter and St Paul, the two fundamental apostolic “pillars” on which the Catholic Church is founded – St Peter, who represents the “rock” on which the faith of the Church stands and St Paul, who points to the Church’s mission to the whole world.  We pray especially, of course, for Pope Francis, who is in direct apostolic succession to St Peter as Bishop of Rome, and who also succeeds to St Paul who, like St Peter, was martyred in that city during the Roman persecutions.  Pope Francis is very conscious of the need for the Church today to be able to proclaim its message to all peoples, especially to those whose cultures are very different from the Western European/North American/Anglo-Saxon cultures in which much of the Church’s doctrine and practice has been formed over the past centuries.  We also face the same challenge in our own “post-Christian” culture, where faith and religion have been discarded by many as something which is no longer relevant and which fails to speak to their spiritual needs.  So let us pray for the intercession of both St Peter and St Paul and  be attentive and responsive to the teaching of the Holy Father with regards to how we might proclaim the faith to others in the present era, set out mainly in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium – the Joy of the Gospel – and his Encyclical Laudato Si’ – on care for our common home.

Very appropriately with regards to the message of Laudato Si’ are an Update from Caritas Plymouth about the faith-inspired social action of our parishes and the June CHAT News which updates us on that same gospel-inspired action in our local community.

As always, I assure you of my on-going prayer for you all and I look forward to seeing some of you at Mass in July!

With every blessing

Fr Kristian

Personal Prayer at St James

St James Church is open for personal prayer on Tuesdays 10.00am-12noon, Fridays 11.00am-1.00pm and Saturdays 4.00pm-6.00pm. The Blessed Sacrament will be exposed on the altar throughout these times.

Please follow the guidance of the Stewards at all times, particularly with regards to social distancing, hygiene and safety.  You will also be asked your name, address and telephone number as part of the “track and trace” system. Remember that the toilet facilities and the kitchen are out of use and that any books or printed material that you bring with you must be taken home when you leave.  Social distancing must also be observed in the car park.

The Repository is closed, but Mass cards, sympathy or get well cards are available from the Parish Office between 10.00am and 1.00pm on weekdays.

Opening St James for Public Worship

You will have almost certainly heard that permission has been given for churches to start to open for public worship from 4 July, provided that the rules regarding social distancing and hygiene continue to be observed.  A letter from the four Metropolitan Archbishops of England is available to download and read.  The Archbishops make it clear that the Obligation to attend Sunday Mass will continued to be suspended for the time being so as to allow those who can get to Mass during the week to fulfil their obligation then, thereby leaving the limited spaces available at the weekend Masses for those who can only get to Mass then.  There will also be some of our more elderly and/or vulnerable parishioners who will not feel ready to gather in a group with others for Mass until the circulation of the virus has decreased more within the general population.

National Guidance from the Bishops’ Conference regarding the celebration of Mass and the celebration of the Sacrament of Penance has also been issued.  In order to allow more people to attend Mass, churches can adopt the “one metre plus” rule for social distancing but, if they do, the wearing of a face covering is obligatory.  Singing is not permitted, though music can of course be played, and there are very particular norms concerning the reception of Holy Communion, which must be received in the hand in a socially-distanced way and under one kind only.  More details will be included in next weekend’s Newsletter.

It is not expected that St James will be ready for public celebrations of Mass until AFTER the weekend of 4/5 July and the first public Masses will probably be celebrated during the following week.  As at present, at least two Stewards will need to be present at each Mass to ensure the observance of social distancing, to take the details of those present and to sanitise the church afterwards.

Opening of St Boniface for Personal Prayer/Public Worship

With the possibility of adopting the “one metre plus” rule, it is more likely that we will be able to open St Boniface.  However, work has just started to repair the damage done to the rose window and other leaded lights caused by stone-throwing.  The rose window has had to be removed to a workshop and it will take about three weeks before it will be returned.  Therefore, it is unlikely that St Boniface will open until the end of July at the earliest.

However, even with the “one metre plus” rule with the compulsory wearing of face coverings, there will still be a very limited number of spaces available in St Boniface due to the size and shape of the church and the position of its entrance/exit points.  Also, two Stewards will have to be on duty whenever the church is opened either for private prayer or for Mass. So volunteers to act as Stewards at St Boniface are therefore needed.  Please give your details to Rosie at the parish office.  (Those who are classed as clinically extremely vulnerable cannot act as Stewards and those who are classed as clinically vulnerable, which includes anyone over 70, can only act as a Steward alongside a person who is not classed as clinically vulnerable).

Parish Mass Books and digital alternatives

Sets of Mass Books are in the hall and can be collected from a steward if you visit St James during the times that it is open for private prayer.  Please let us know if you would like a set by contacting the Parish Office. We will deliver them to you if you are unable to come to the church. 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, parishioners may wish to access the Mass readings and text digitally. There are a number of options for this listed on the ‘Digital Resources for Catholics’ section of the parish website.

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.

Caritas Plymouth News Update: “Spreading the Good News”

The Caritas Plymouth Annual Review is now on the Diocesan website. Caritas would welcome feedback from parishioners on its plans for the coming year. Caritas have also produced a news update to share some of the positive work which has been happening in our parishes during the Covid-19 crisis.  A copy of this update is available to download.

CHAT News June 2020

A copy of the June CHAT News is available to download, which includes details of a socially vital project to recruit and train 15 more volunteers in Debt & Money Management skills, in order to be able to respond to the increased demand for this service, especially as the impact of Covid-15 begins to be felt on the economy with the loss of jobs and the subsequent increase of those struggling to live on low incomes.

If you would like to donate to a Crowd Funding initiative to support this project, please visit Likewise, do contact CHAT if you would like to be considered for the role of a Debt & Money Management Advisor

BBC Young Chorister of the Year

Songs of Praise and BBC Radio 2 have joined forces to find The BBC Young Chorister Of The Year. Former choristers Aled Jones and Katherine Jenkins will coach the 5 boys and 5 girls aged 10-16 who are selected to go through to the radio and television competition, where they will sing in front of an expert panel of judges.

The competition launched on 21st June and singers have until midnight on Monday 20th July to submit their entries. The recording will be at The Monastery in Manchester in mid-September.

Singers apply online by submitting two short films of themselves singing a Christmas carol or song and a sacred song such as a hymn, classical solo, spiritual, inspirational, gospel or worship song.

The winning chorister will receive a trophy, appear on future BBC Radio programmes and on Songs of Praise and have a recording session with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.

Click here to apply online                                                                                                                                                                                 

More details here:

Masses and Events this week

Sunday 28 June – Solemnity of St Peter and St Paul – Apostles

  • Holy Mass without a congregation at 10.00am

 Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time (Year A)

 Monday 29 June

  • No Mass today

Tuesday 30 June

  • Holy Mass without a congregation at 9.00am
  • St James Church open for Private Prayer between 10.00 am-12 Noon

Wednesday 1 July – St Oliver Plunket, Bishop and Martyr

  • Holy Mass without a congregation at 10.00am

Thursday 2 July – Weekday

  • Holy Mass without a congregation at 10.00am

Friday 3 July – Feast of St Thomas, Apostle

  • Holy Mass without a congregation at 10.00am
  • St James Church open for Private Prayer between 11.00am-1.00pm

Saturday 4 July – Blessed John Cornelius, Priest and Martyr, and his Companions (The Chideock Martyrs)

  • Holy Mass without a congregation at 10.00am
  • St James Church open for Private Prayer between 4.00pm-6.00pm

Sunday 24 May – Seventh Sunday of Easter

  • Holy Mass without a congregation at 10.00am