Covid 19 Protocol
Updated 21st June 2020
Dear Members of the Chaplaincy:
We have been particularly moved by so many of you wanting to keep in touch and expressing your wish to return to church as soon as possible. In conversation, and at a series of recent face to face meetings, we now think it appropriate to open the Cathedral and to return to the Seminary in Gozo. We are grateful that during these 15 weeks you have put aside the crucial church collections and we hope that you will bring them either in the form of cash or cheque when you return. From the recent Government’s directives, the following guidelines will ensure our return will be safe. If you have been self isolating because of age or vulnerability you are now permitted to attend church whilst adhering to these guidelines. Government direction changes on a daily basis and so the guidelines must be seen as temporary and as temporate as we can make them. If you are in doubt about your condition before setting out for church, take your temperature. Mass will be celebrated on a temporary basis at 10 a.m. as there is a current Government directive restricting the use of electric fans.
Please come into the building with ‘face covering’ in place which is permitted to be removed during Mass if you so wish. On entering please sanitize your hands using the electronic hand sanitizers provided. For the moment your temperature may be taken with a handheld electric thermometer. One of the wardens will take you to a clearly marked pew to ensure social distancing. If you are attending with a member or members of your household, you are most welcome to sit together. There will be no Mass books or hymn books available to begin with, but we hope you will sing in your heart or hum during the hymns which the organist will play. The building will have been prepared for worship professionally, fully sanitized and safe each time. The altar and vessels will be similarly safe for use.
The Liturgy of the Mass
The organist will play a voluntary at the beginning and end of Mass and will play the hymns. We hope that very soon we will be able to join him in singing them! The priest will wash and sanitize his hands, before, during and after Mass. He will wear face covering to distribute Holy Communion. Readings for the time being will given by the clergy and lay reader to avoid congregational movement. There will be no collection of alms so please put your offering in the dishes provided before or after Mass. The money will be counted with safety in mind. Although the Peace will be given we will not exchange the peace physically. Communion will be given in one kind only when the Host is placed in the hand following a corporate invitation, words and distribution and the response ‘Amen’. Please come to the Chancel steps as directed keeping your distance from one another and return to your own seat using the side aisle to the left and right. Following the third and final hymn, the Dismissal will be given as usual but please wait and stay seated listening to the organ voluntary. A warden will direct you to leave row by row in order to exit keeping socially distant. Please do not accumulate at the door as initially you will not be met by sides person or priest on exiting.
Please avoid using the lavatory, but if you need to, please approach before or after Mass through the Chancel and turning right after the organ console. Please do not pass through the Sacristy. A designated electric hand sanitizer is in place outside the cubicle to be used before and after.
Please wear face covering and avoid any social contact initially and return home as quickly as you can. Arrangements we hope will be in place by Sunday, June 28 for us to use the Undercroft, when tea, coffee and wine will be available for purchase. We will of course adhere to appropriate social distancing according to Government directive. We really hope 2 metres will soon become 1 metre and then back to normal. You may have seen in the news the Royals practicing this new normal.
We recognise that the above protocols may prevent some of you from coming to church but we hope you have got used to them at home and when shopping, and so we ask you to come to worship and we will ensure a safe, friendly and above all spirit filled environment so that each one of us can enjoy the return to our beloved building.
With best wishes and very much looking forward to seeing you all again.
Bernice Caruana, Simon Walker and Fr. Simon Godfrey