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Fr. Brians “letter” to the Hemel West Parish

Dear Friends,

By now you will have probably heard the news of the difficult decision the Cardinal has had to make, in consultation with other bishops.

In response to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic we are no longer able to gather for Mass as a community at any time, weekdays, holydays and Sundays, until further notice. This takes effect from Friday evening, 20 March 2020. 

This also applies to the celebration of funerals and baptisms. I have had – and will sadly continue to have – difficult conversations with the bereaved, because funerals must for now be replaced with a short committal service at the graveside or at the crematorium. Please keep the bereaved in your prayers as a result of the unavoidable additional distress caused to them.

I will say a ‘Mass without the people’ every day (except Thursday) at St Mary and St Joseph in Boxmoor, and I will remember all the living and dead of this parish and those for whom particular Mass intentions are scheduled. When the church is handed back after its decoration, it will be open as usual so that anyone can come in to pray before the Blessed Sacrament reposed in the tabernacle and find a place of light, refreshment and peace.

I am working on an approach to make it easy for us to reach out to those who need assistance at this time, whether it is a simple act of befriending over the phone or dropping off a little shopping, etc. I want none of our parishioners to feel alone or unnecessarily anxious. Thank you for the acts of charity and general help you are already offering to each other and members of the wider Hemel community. To that end, please feel free to contact me if I can be of assistance, and I will endeavour to help in the shortest time possible, until we get something a little more structured in place. This will include the use of social media and the Hemel Catholic Parishes website.

This is a very difficult time for Catholics, who will not be able to receive the Lord in the Eucharist and attend Mass. For some it will be a time of spiritual pain. My prayers are very much with you all. I urge you to unite your daily prayers to the prayer of the Mass, wherever it is said in the world, by making an Act of Spiritual Communion. You can find details by clicking here.  Let us urgently storm heaven with our prayers that the Lord may intervene powerfully in the present crisis and manifest his glory and might amongst us.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols offers a message of hope with Jesus Christ at its centre, which may be of support at this time. Please click here to watch the video.

Please share this message with your friends and colleagues in the parish and return regularly to this page to follow events and arrangements as they unfold. Thank you.