Attending Mass

England is now in 'National Lockdown: Stay at Home'. Government guidance is here.

Currently the guidance, which is "for people who are fit and well", says, "You can leave home to attend or visit a place of worship for communal worship". We need to be very careful in doing so.

If Covid19 carries a relatively high risk of you, or indeed anyone in your household, being hospitalised (because of age or underlying health) it is socially responsible to stay, and pray, at home.

Our prayer and our intention is that you will feel as welcome and at home in St William’s as ever.

Our arrangements are intended to keep us all as safe as possible during the pandemic.

As part of this, it is very important that you do not come to Church if you have a new cough, or a temperature, or have lost your sense of taste or smell.

If you come to Mass and subsequently test positive for Covid-19, let Fr John know, or contact the office, immediately.

Arrangements for Sunday Mass in St William's.

These will change, as circumstances change and as we gain experience; we will keep this page up to date.

  1. Places are limited. How to apply for a place:

    • Email the office to request an invitation by Wednesday evening. State clearly which Mass; either Saturday 5.30 or Sunday 9.30. You will then receive an email saying you are on the list of possible attendees.

    • You will hear by email, by the end of Thursday at the latest, whether you have a place. If you have a place you will be asked to reply by email to confirm you attendance and that you do not have any COVID symptoms.

    • Don’t hold back on applying for a place; we will ensure those who have not already been able to attend have a place.

    • Sunday Mass ‘Buddies’ If you know someone who would like to come to Sunday Mass in the coming weeks but does not have access to email please would you ‘buddy up’ with them and help them to apply for a place. Please give a contact detail for ‘track and trace’ recording and explain to them the arrangements for seating, for Communion and for movement in and out of church.

  2. Face coverings must be worn. These need to be on before you sanitise your hands.

  3. Only those invited (by email) can attend. If you are invited and you then cannot come, you must let us know so we can try to pass the place on. See here for more information on how to request an invitation to Sunday Mass.

  4. You will be told where to sit and, at the end, when to leave: in both cases the aim is to avoid households walking within 2m of each other. The introduction of compulsory face coverings means that we can be a little bit more relaxed about 2m distancing, in particular, about walking down the aisle past people who are seated, though we will continue to keep this to an absolute minimum.

  5. We will seat people with 2m distancing between households. We will seek to minimise people walking past each other at less than 2m distance, but we cannot eliminate this completely. The basic rule in seating is : one household per bench, or two people on their own, with one at each end of the bench. You can read a bit more about the seating arrangements here.

  6. You must follow the instructions of the stewards. The steward responsible for seating people sometimes has quite a lot to think about as they try to ensure that we fill the church up without people having to walk past those already seated. In general, people coming have been understanding, and willing to do what they are asked. Face masks are certainly making it a bit harder for the stewards to communicate.

  7. You should observe 2m distancing of households throughout the church, the church grounds, and beyond, as you arrive and leave. Sadly, we will have to avoid stopping to have a word with other people.

  8. Fr John will distribute Holy Communion in the hand only (under the form of bread) as instructed in the National Guidance. He will do this by going round the congregation. Before he does this, there will be a communal dialogue (‘The Body of Christ’, ‘Amen’) and he will give Communion to individuals without either party speaking.

  9. If you wish to receive Communion you should stand, and, when Fr John approaches, extend your arms at ‘full stretch’, with hands palms upwards, one of top of the other, and extended as flatly as possible, to receive Holy Communion in the hand. Remove your face covering and consume the host, and then replace your face covering.

  10. The toilet will not be available: if that might be a problem you should not come at this stage.

  11. We hope that coming to Mass is as least as safe as going to a shop that is well-organised for Covid-security.

  12. Please arrive in good time: admission after Mass has started will not be possible.

  13. As well as the Masses in Church we will continue for the foreseeable future to provide Sunday Mass on Zoom. You need to email the office and ask to be put on the parish email list in order to receive the weekly link.

Arrangements for Weekday Mass in St William's.

All of the above apply also to Weekday Mass, except '3', so we will not operate by invitation. You can just turn up. However, if we reach capacity no further people will be admitted for that Mass.

National Guidelines

Government guidelines on opening places of worship

Government Guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable

Note in particular that Government advice is that those classed as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ should keep overall social interactions low.

National Guidance from our Bishops on celebrating Mass

Note in particular that the Archbishops say: "It is important to reaffirm that, at present, the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains suspended. "