Coronavirus Letters Archive

17 January 2021

Church Closure for Mass

Dear Parishioners

Further to Public Health Lancashire request last week, we decided to close the church after the Sunday Masses. In a joint statement made by the health chiefs, they strongly advised all faith communities to pause communal worship to reduce the COVID Variant spread. Such a request presented an ethical dilemma for me.  We have a duty of care to each other and our local community.  I felt it was the right decision to close based on the increase in people testing positive in our local area and increased bed occupancy at our local hospital.

With the pandemic entering its most dangerous phase due to a more transmissible variant, everyone is more exposed. Equally, we have moral accountability to each other.

I quote from the very moving article in the Lancashire Telegraph this week. My Imam friend Fazlurrahman Hassan is the Muslim chaplain at Royal Blackburn Hospital and said he wanted to share the heart-breaking moment as a warning to those who were still flouting lockdown rules.

I quote:

“I was bleeped to a patient in the critical care unit and was met by a devastated and weeping husband in the room where his wife, who had given birth to a baby last week, lay helpless in her last moments succumbing to the Covid-19 virus.

“It was with a heavy heart that I conducted the last rites of passage and the end of life prayer with tears involuntarily rolling down, under my stuffy and uncomfortable respirator hood.

“The ventilator was eventually switched off and her soul left this mortal world on Friday to meet her Almighty creator.”

End of quote.

Although local Public Health Advice is that we do not meet for communal worship, the church will open for private prayer from 2pm-3pm on Sunday and  Wednesday this week.

Can I ask that we keep in our prayers Mary Miller her funeral service will be on Friday 22 January at 10.15.

The Sunday Mass will at 10.30 on Zoom.

Let us keep each other in prayer.

Fr Jim


24 March 2020

Dear Parishioners

Re Covid-19

In line with the Prime Minister’s statement on Monday 23 March, Sacred Heart Church and St Anne’s will now remain completely closed until COVID -19 restrictions are lifted. Likewise there will be no baptisms or weddings. Private Mass will still be offered.

Bishop John suggests that in each of our homes we create somewhere where the family can go to pray. In the words of the bishop, “it’s also important to realise that although the Church building is closed, the Church continues in each of us.”

Equally, in light of the government directive on staying at home, the Bishops of England & Wales have had to revise their statement about Confession. For the safety of each person and the priest, confession will not be possible at this time.

Pope Francis shares the following:

“I know that many of you go to confession before Easter … many will say to me: ‘But Father ….. I cannot leave the house and I want to make my peace with the Lord. I want Him to embrace me ….. How can I do that unless I find a priest?’ Do what the catechism says. It is very clear. If you don’t find a priest to go to confession, speak to God. He is your Father. Tell Him the truth: ‘Lord, I did this and this and this. Pardon me.’ Ask His forgiveness with all your heart with an act of contrition, and promise Him, ‘afterward I will go to confession.’ You will return to God’s grace immediately. You yourself can draw near, as the catechism teaches us, to God’s forgiveness, without having a priest at hand.”

Once again I can be contacted on 01254 51808 or [email protected]

If you would like us to provide updates to you via digital space contact [email protected]

I will also keep you updated via this website.

God Bless

Fr Jim

Tel 01254 51808
Email: [email protected]

20 March 2020

Dear Parishioners

Re: COVID-19

The Church is committed to taking every measure to mitigate the risk of the Coronavirus.

Therefore the Bishops of England & Wales have decided that from this evening, Friday 20th March, all public liturgies will cease until further notice. Although the priest will continue to celebrate Mass in each parish church, the celebration of Mass, Sunday by Sunday and day by day, will take place without a public congregation. Furthermore, funerals will take place either at the graveside or in the crematorium but not in the church.  It is intended that a memorial service will be held for the deceased after the COVID-19 crises period.

In addition Baptisms will be deferred until the public health advice is that congregations can gather safely; this will also apply to the other Sacraments. In the case of necessity, the Anointing of the Sick will be administered and if urgent the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Sacrament of Baptism. You can phone me on 01254 51808 Likewise there will be no public gatherings for weddings.

Although we have to introduce these measures, Sacred Heart Church will be open from 2pm – 4pm, each Sunday, for private prayer, and St Anne’s, 11am -1pm. In addition the Salford Diocese have provided a link for resources, including the live streaming of Mass.

Equally, if you would like to contact with us via digital space email: [email protected]

I will also communicate with you via our website and you will be able to contact me at any time on 01254 51808 or [email protected].

This is a time for all of us to grow in the knowledge that the Lord is with us, where we can rediscover a deeper sense of community.

With my prayers and warm wishes,

Fr Jim

Tel 01254 51808
Email: [email protected]