(You now do not need to book for Mass.)
The Government in England has moved to Step 4 of its roadmap out of the lockdown restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 Pandemic. Significantly, all social distancing restrictions are removed in nearly all circumstances and Churches are allowed to enjoy unrestricted worship. Although infections rates are high and continue to rise the vaccination programme has severely weakened the link between infection rate – hospitalization and death. The pandemic is, however, far from over and although legal restrictions have been removed the emphasis is now on organizations and individuals to make judgments about what is the safest and best way forward given local circumstance. After careful consideration, and in line with the recommendations from the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, the following procedures will be adopted for the Catholic Parish of Brandon and Mildenhall:
1. Seating will be returned to both Churches so that a greater capacity can be accommodated. The Churches of St Thomas’ and St Johns are relatively small buildings and so even at a fuller capacity would not be considered a ‘vast crowd’ of people.
2. Both buildings will continue to have doors and windows open to allow for good ventilation during Mass
3. Social distancing in both our churches is no longer required. There will no longer be the need to book-in for Sunday Mass and People can sit where they wish.
4. People will be invited to line-up for communion in a way that is similar to pre-pandemic Mass
5. Hand Sanitation stations will remain in place and people will be encouraged to use them regularly.
6. Whilst not mandatory, it is strongly encouraged that when the Church is full (i.e., Sundays and big celebrations) masks are still worn whilst in Church, acknowledging that there are people, who for variety of reasons, cannot wear masks. It may not be necessary to wear a mask for a weekday celebration.
7. Both Churches will continue to be cleaned and chairs disinfected after every Mass
8. The sign of peace will not be re-introduced at this time.
9. Holy Water stoups will remain dry.
10. Holy Communion will still only be given under one kind.
11. A physical collection basket will not be introduced at this point. You are encouraged to give online, by bank transfer of by sending in a cheque.
12. Given the limited space and close proximity of people, we will not re-introduce the offertory procession at this time.
13. Teas and coffees will be reintroduced after Mass at St John’s Mildenhall. Given the small room at
St Thomas, however, we will hold on reintroducing Teas and Coffees at Brandon for the time being.
14. Singing will be reintroduced at Brandon from 15 August 2021.
In the coming weeks we will look to:
• Reintroduce singing
• Reintroduce full schedule of readers and servers
• Reintroduce sacristy teams
These new regulations are subject to constant review and will change if local circumstances deem it necessary.
Fr Luke Goymour, in effect from Monday 19/7/21
See the handout below of this guidance that you can download.
I believe that you are present in this Holy Sacrament of the altar. I love you above all things and I passionately desire to receive you into my soul. Since I cannot now receive you sacramentally, come spiritually into my soul so that I may unite myself wholly to you now and forever. Amen.”
It seems that the government is willing to allow places of worship to open for “private prayer”. it also seems reluctant to indicate when this may be extended to allow services, such as Mass, to be celebrated. The opportunity to be back in church, even for ‘private’ prayer, will be welcomed by many, especially Catholics. However, prayer can be made in almost any context you can think of, not just in a church. One wonders if the government understands that churches, by definition, are places for people to congregate, to come together in friendship to celebrate their faith as a community, not just as random individuals who happen to share the same space. As a place, a church comes to life when a congregation has gathered there and shares in worship.
‘Private’ prayer is somewhat different. It is individuals talking with God, whether in praise, supplication or thanksgiving, or even, as a friend of mine used to say “having a bit of a craic with Jesus.”
There are some things to remember when you are saying a private prayer.
Privacy is about being somewhere where you can relax and concentrate. You need not be alone, but you must be assured you’ll not be distracted by others. You also need to be somewhere where you can be comfortable.
Prayer is not a competition. You don’t have to say it in a given time. It is more like floating on water than paddling stridently to get somewhere. Prayer is more “Letting Go’ than “Holding On”. It is important to pray at a pace that helps you focus on the meaning of what you are saying. There is a risk with certain repetitive prayers, such as litanies or the Rosary, that you get to a stage when the repetition speeds up and what you offer to God is an unthinking gabble, rather than a thoughtful word. It is better to take fifteen minutes to say the Lord’s Prayer thoughtfully, than to rush through it in three minutes.
Do try not to say too many prayers. That too can lead to loss of concentration. Finally, very often you will find that the best prayer is silence. Give God a chance to talk to you. Even if you don’t hear anything there and then, the message will come through eventually. And the sound of silence can be a most spiritually uplifting experience when you pray.
Fr Luke writes: Would you like a personal visit from the Risen Lord? Although restrictions prevent people receiving Holy Communion and gathering in Church. As a ‘religious worker’ I am key worker and so can come to you and assist you. I can bring the Blessed Sacrament to your home, expose the Host in small monstrance at your door or window (keeping 6ft away) lead prayers with you (and any members of your household) and then give you Benediction. So how about it? Are you missing Jesus? Want to pray together in person? Contact me now and we’ll book in time for a visit from the Risen Lord! I will remain at your door/front window with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, I will not come in, social distancing will be observed at all times.
During our transition back to normal service, please contact Fr Luke directly at 01842 812200.
Read Fr Luke’s blog at https://www.frlukegoymour.com/ Latest post: “Advent: waiting in joyful hope”.
"Taking part in a virtual Mass can help us to keep the Eucharist, and thus Christ at the center of our lives. Like anything, however, the extent to which it will be fruitful in our own lives depends in no small part on us, so here are my top ten tips to help you participate in Virtual Masses!
1. Read the Sunday readings beforehand and pray with them during the week. Many people do this already and this is good to do anyway if you were coming to Mass physically on a Sunday or joining us through the internet.
2. Make a Spiritual Communion – Jesus can’t be received sacramentally via the internet but he can always be received in spirit (I lead this prayer at Communion at the Masses I stream and invite participants to say the prayer along with me at home)
3. Keep the Eucharistic Fast: The Church asks that we prepare for Holy Communion by not eating or drinking anything (except water) for a minimum of one hour before Holy Communion. Although you will be making a spiritual Communion and so technically this fast is not needed, it might be a fruitful way of preparing yourself, ahead of time, for spiritual participation at Mass.
4. Set up an altar/focus for prayer in your house. If possible, prepare a space where you can drape a cloth over a table, light some candles - if you are streaming to a portable device (laptop, phone/tablet) you could put this near or behind the altar
5. If you have space in your house (corner of a room/spare bedroom) set up a prayer space and ‘go to Mass’ in this room
6. If you have young children, consider doing your own children’s liturgy with them during the liturgy of the word.
7. Turn off phones (that you are not using to stream!) set notifications to silent turn off radios and TV’s on other parts of the house
8. Make sure you participate: i.e. don’t just watch but say the responses at the correct points
9. Send in Mass Intentions and ask for prayers to be included in the Mass
10. Invite friends (virtually) to stream along with you and participate in the Mass at the same time. Knowing that your friends and family in their own houses are participating in the same Eucharist and watching the same live feed can be enormously encouraging, especially in this time of social isolation."
Listen to Homilies online and as a podcast! Homilies will be loaded up shortly after the Sunday they are preached: visit: https://anchor.fm/fr-luke-goymour/ or search on Spotify, Google, Apple, and other major Podcast platforms.
A reminder that from the beginning of last Advent, in compliance with the General Instruction of the Roman Missal Fr Luke will purify all vessels during or after the Mass, not the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion as was previously the case.
If you would like Fr Luke to visit you in your home and invoke God’s blessing upon your home and family, please speak to him after Mass or call the presbytery.
It’s also an excellent way for priest and parish to get to know each other!
The Church has long recommended the faithful to make a proper thanksgiving after Holy communion. Although this may take place in the celebration itself: with a period of silence, with a hymn, psalm or other song of praise, it is also recommended that after the celebration, if possible, the faithful stay to pray for a suitable time. The reason is that Jesus Christ, true God and true Man, is present under the form of the Eucharistic Species (appearance of bread and wine) and for as long as the Eucharistic Species last, He is there Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in all the tabernacles of the world and especially in the living tabernacle of those who have received him in Holy Communion. Please consider either staying in the Church (Brandon) or using the Blessed Sacrament Chapel (at Mildenhall) for a few moments after Mass to sit with Jesus and thank Him for being with you. If you see people sitting and praying, please respect the silence and don’t try and talk to them until they get up from their prayers.
A reminder that during the celebration of the Eucharist the appropriate act of reverence for any minister approaching the altar (reader/cantor/etc) is to bow to the altar and not, as has previously been the practice here, the celebrant. Genuflection is reserved almost exclusively for the Blessed Sacrament (not the altar) on entering and leaving the main body of the Church and on reception of Holy Communion should you so wish.
Fr Luke will hold confessions by appointment only until further notice.
Confession are now held at regular slots on Sunday before Mass at Mildenhall and after Mass at Brandon. If this is inconvenient for you please contact me to arrange an appointment – I will come to your house if that is easier for you or you can come to me!
Mildenhall: From 8:30 – 8:55
- Confessions are held in the confessional in the right- hand corner of our church.
- After Mass I will great people as they leave at the door of the church, if you require confession sit and que in the front rows by the sacristy and confessional (at the front of our Church on the left-hand side.) I will return to the sacristy at 12:10 to begin hearing confessions. If no one is queuing and you would like confession, please come and find me and ask!
Through Baptism we enter the mystery of God’s life. Please contact us about having your child baptised.
For first Communion and Reconciliation we normally have a parish preparation course to lead your child deeper into the life of the Church. Please ask for details. This normally takes place in school year 3 or above.
Confirmation, the completion of our initiation, lets us, through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, witness to Christ in our lives. Normally in school year 10 or above we have a course of preparation. Again, just ask for details.
If you are an adult and are seeking to be initiated in to the life of Christ, then we will arrange a preparation course to help and instruct you.
Also, if you are an adult and missed your first communion or Confirmation, then please speak to us and we shall help you in this matter.
Sometimes people of other denominations desire to become Christians within the Roman Catholic Church. We can help guide you and lead you on this path to your reception within the Church.
Baptism opens the door to the Faith and to the Church’s community perhaps the most important event in a Christian’s life. The next ‘key stage’ in developing one’s faith is, of course, First Communion.
But what happens between these two sacraments?
In these early years, a baby, growing into infancy, will be learning rules, routines and how to do things for themselves. Part of this complex programme should be learning about and learning to be a follower of Christ.
So regular attendance at mass and regular explanation of what is happening become a central part of the child’s life.
It is of equal importance that the child’s learning occurs at home as well. Here are some ways this can be done:
Many of us were little babies when we were baptised, and perhaps the significance of this sacrament has not been fully explored. We know, of course that baptism has cleansed us of original sin and that we are now new people - a ‘priesthood’ - in Christ. However it takes time - even a lifetime -to appreciate that baptismal grace has made us temples of God. The Trinity now dwells in us in a real and glorious way that is impossible to express fully in words or pictures.
Our baptism into Christ incorporates us into the bosom of the Trinity. It makes us participators in the divine life. Every time we make the sign of the Cross, every time we say ‘Glory be to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Spirit”, we celebrate their presence within us. To think that we, humble though we are, have been made spiritual temples of God is awesome: to be graced with the Trinity’s presence in us is awesome; to be so loved by God is awesome; to have responsibility for maintaining the temple is awesome.
May we nourish and safeguard our faith, the light that is our temple’s sanctuary lamp.
Marriage is a wonderful sign of the fidelity and Love of God as well as the blessings of Our Lord on the union of the joyous couple. Please contact us in the first instance, allow at least six months to arrange your marriage within the Church.
Anointing of the Sick is a wonderful way to allow Jesus to come and heal and sooth our illnesses through his presence. If you or perhaps a relative or friend would like to receive this sacrament, just ask. You may also like to consider receiving this sacrament if you are troubled, about to undergo serious surgery, or even a minor operation.
Ordination into the Hierarchy of the Priesthood is a wonderful way in which men are called to serve God and his people. It is a duty of all Christians to pray for vocations and if you feel you are being called do come to discuss it with Father Luke. See also the Diocesan Website for details about the Vocations Team.
If you are sick, housebound or infirm and unable to come to Church on Sunday, then we are able to bring you the comfort and support of Holy Communion in your home. Don’t hesitate to ask.
If you are unwell or know someone who is unwell and would like Fr Luke to visit please do contact him, either by phone or email. If you do not let anyone know then it hard to visit you. Please do not assume that Fr Luke knows that someone is sick or wants a visit.
When a loved one dies it is our duty to honour their body and memory. We do all we can in our parish to ensure that your funeral service is a dignified, prayerful, and precious occasion.
As a parish we also undertake Pilgrimages to holy places, courses of prayer or study in Lent and Advent and from time to time parish retreats to help deepen our spiritual lives.
There are many members of our Parish who have attended Cursillo courses and this movement of spiritual renewal and sacramental life has proven to have a great effect within the lives of many. You may want to use our Links page to find a website on this.
Copyright 2009-2021, St. Thomas & St. John Catholic Parish. All rights reserved.
A registered Charity number 278742
The Roman Catholic Parish of Brandon and Mildenhall is part of the Diocese of East Anglia covering Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and the Unitary Authority of Peterborough within the Province of Westminster, part of the Catholic Church of England and Wales in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.