Catholic churches closed for worship, open for prayer
Catholic churches across Norfolk are set to be closed for public worship from Friday March 20 until further notice in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, but will remain open for prayer.
A statement on behalf of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales said: “In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, so many aspects of our lives must change. This includes the ways in which we publicly express our faith. It is very clear that, following official advice and in order to keep each other safe, save lives and support the NHS, at this time we must not gather for public acts of worship in our churches. This will begin from Friday evening, March 20, until further notice.
“Our churches will remain open. They are not closing. They will be a focal point of prayer, where you will find solace and strength. In visiting our churches at this time, we will observe with great care the practices of hygiene and the guidance on social distancing. However, the celebration of Mass, Sunday by Sunday and day by day, will take place without a public congregation.
“Knowing that the Mass is being celebrated; joining in spiritually in that celebration; watching the live-streaming of the Mass; following its prayers at home; making an act of spiritual communion: this is how we share in the Sacrifice of Christ in these days. These are the ways in which we will sanctify Sunday, and indeed every day.
“The second vital aspect of these challenging times is our care for each other. There are so many ways in which we are to do this: being attentive to the needs of our neighbour, especially the elderly and vulnerable; contributing to our local food banks; volunteering for charitable initiatives and organisations; simply keeping in touch by all the means open to us.
“During these disturbing and threatening times, the rhythm of the prayer of the Church will continue. Please play your part in it. The effort of daily kindness and mutual support for all will continue and increase. Please play your part in this too.”
Live streaming of Masses already takes place at the Catholic National Shrine at Walsingham and is due to start soon (maybe by this weekend) at St John’s Cathedral in Norwich.