My Dear Friends,
As you probably know, we have received word that the Bishops Conference of Scotland today decided (upon advice from the Scottish Government) to suspend all public Masses across the country. This decision was not taken lightly and will be reviewed as soon as the Government tells us that it is safe for us to congregate for Mass again.
As a consequence, the Archbishop has suspended the public celebration of Holy Mass from tomorrow onwards. This means that tomorrow’s 9am, 12.45 and 6pm Masses for the Feast of St Joseph will be the last public celebrations of Mass in our parish until we hear otherwise.
There will be no further public liturgies in the Cathedral or in St. Andrews Ravelston until we have received more instructions from the Archbishop. It also seems likely that we will not be able to celebrate the Triduum together this year – but this will depend on the instructions we receive from the Government.
So, this means that:
- The faithful of the Archdiocese are dispensed from their Sunday obligation to go to Mass until further notice;
- The clergy at the Cathedral will celebrate daily Mass privately in the Cathedral House Chapel from now on. We will each remember you all in our Masses;
- Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals can go ahead but in the presence of close family only;
- There will be confessions at the usual times in our parish: on Weekdays at 1.15pm and on Saturday mornings from 10.30-12noon and on Saturday evenings from 5-6pm;
- The sick and the dying will receive the Sacraments when necessary. Just contact the parish office if you need a priest;
- As usual, the church will be open every day from 8.00am to 6.30pm. I encourage you all, while we are without the Sacrifice of the Mass, to visit the Blessed Sacrament at the Cathedral to sustain yourselves and your families spiritually;
- Since the Cathedral is open, you will still be able to make the Station of the Cross for Lent privately in the Cathedral;
- I encourage all families to say the Rosary together on Saturday evening or Sunday at the time when you would usually be gathering for Mass. While we are unable to be together at the altar, we can still be united in our prayers;
- If you have a missal or access to the internet, you could read the readings that we would have had at Mass. You can also access Mass on-line;
- If possible, try to make a private visit with your family to the church on Sundays so that, even though you will not be able to receive Jesus in Holy Communion, you can pray for a time before Him in the tabernacle;
- The newsletter will still be printed and left at the back of the Cathedral each Saturday evening;
- The Parish Council are working with me to coordinate a programme of parish outreach to those who are unable to leave their homes and who may need our help. In the meantime, if you need assistance or you know of someone who may need assistance, call the parish office on 0131 556 1798 to let us know.
Finally, as fear and panic seem to gain the upper hand in the minds of many around us, let us remember how often Jesus told his disciples: “Do not be afraid.”
We are Christians and as such we are not afraid – neither of this virus nor of anything else. We trust in God, knowing that he never ceases to care for us and that he will never abandon us. So let us be of good cheer. Let us look out for those around us who may be isolated or need our help. And let us use this time of enforced retreat to deepen in our spiritual lives and to grow closer to the Lord.
Please pray for us, and be absolutely sure of our prayers for you. And if you need a priest do not hesitate to contact us.