We urge all our parishioners of 70 years of age and beyond (and anyone with a serious medical condition) to present themselves to the priests at St Mary’s after the 12:10pm Mass of St Joseph today (19 March, or latest tomorrow 20 March) to receive the sacrament of Extreme-Unction in its shorter form.
We have sought canonical advice and certify that the unprecedented circumstances make it not only licit but highly advisable for you to receive this sacrament today because:
1)Medical experts assure that your chances of critical reaction to the virus are much higher than younger people, even though you may be in good health;
2) It is to be feared that priests will be prevented by public authorities from accessing your premises for the Last Rites later on (e.g. no priest chaplain allowed in many French hospitals even for dying people);
3) Priests may become infected and contagious, precluding visits to the sick.
Pleae share this information.
SUSPENSION OF PUBLIC MASSES:
As mandated by the Bishops of England and Wales, as an attempt to diminish exposure to the virus, public Holy Masses at St Mary’s Shrine and other liturgical activities and gatherings will cease as from Saturday 21st March included, until further notice. As recommended by our bishops, St Mary’s Church will remain open as usual for anyone to come and pray, except during the daily 12:10pm Mass which be offered behind closed doors while you may watch it on LiveMass (live or on demand) and make a spiritual Communion. Priests will offer their daily Masses privately and will be available for Confessions.
In this time of dire uncertainty, while discomfort and suffering are looming ahead for all, and death for some, let us more than ever remember that:
nothing escapes God’s Providence;
“the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18);
trials can be turned into graces if embraced in a spirit of expiation for sins, of intercession for others and of reparation for the many crimes of our times;
this ordeal is occurring during Lent, the universal time of expiation;
and during the countdown to the re-dedication of England as Our Lady’s Dowry on 29th March.
Thus dear friends, let us courageously and trustfully face any distress, walking as carried by God and under Our Lady’s protection, begging for salvation not only for us but for all men.