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Tuesday 24th March 2020. Government Lockdown order issued 8.30 pm on 23rd March 2020.

Dear all it’s early but some of you may have passed the Parish between 8 am and 8.26 pm when it was open. This reflected an understanding of government advice posted following the Prime Ministers address to the county yesterday evening at 8.30 pm. This advice was still up at 8 am this morning and it stated that places of worship should be open for private prayer. Following consultation this advice is now not to be followed in our country and all churches are for now to be closed.
 
Jesus often went away to a lonely place to pray and said to us go into your private room (by which he meant your heart)  and pray so make a space for him in your heart. That prayer is of the same worth as the prayer you make in Church. Know he is with you in your lonely place, in your room, in your heart.
 
Many things we can’t now do including make a visit to Church. The sick and health care staff will feel that they are doing nothing but working. All of us should pray for them.  In a time of crisis we should always remember the great sacrifices others are making. I Saw a new report that the Lombardy region sent out an appeal for 300 doctors to help. That appeal got 7000 doctors offering assstnce. There is great goodness out there and we should try to be part of it.
 
The Church has issued indulgence for the sick and carers that is given if they can give a little time to prayer. A summary of which is given below.
 
The church rightly is in dialogue with Government for we are truly all in this together. It maybe that the physical way the church is present may have to change for now. And for some great personal sacrifice will be part of this. Couples weddings are on hold as are baptisms. Funerals will only involve the immediate family and will need to be arranged by telephone. How the sick are to be approached is now being discussed and I will update you as soon as I know anything.
 
The World is now bearing a cross and some are carrying a very heavy cross.  In our prayers we remember we are not alone Jesus says” Know I am with you always” and others really need our prayers. It is good for us to go out to others. We look at the people of Bergamo/Lombardy to move us out of our self and into compassion. There is a Divine Pity for suffering and we in our prayers should express that compassion. Our personal situation is also to be treated compassionately. Many good people have said to me that their prayers are always for others and not for themselves. On one view this is admirable but be careful about any desire to be admired. I often pray for myself. Don’t wilfully suppress personal fear, loneliness, stress and the myriad of burdens you may be carrying. God loves the world including you so spare a part, just a part, of your prayer for yourself. God loves you right now. His Son said
 
Come to me all you who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest. shoulder my yoke and learn from me for I am gentle and humble of heart
 
I quote here a summary of the indulgence. Pray for me as I will for you and over the coming days I will try to keep you posted
 
To the faithful who are suffering from coronavirus
 
The Plenary Indulgence is granted to the faithful suffering from Coronavirus, who are subject to quarantine by order of the health authority in hospitals or in their own homes if, with a spirit detached from any sin, they unite spiritually through the media to
  • the celebration of Holy Mass,
  • the recitation of the Holy Rosary,
  • the pious practice of the Way of the Cross or other forms of devotion,
or
  • if at least they will recite the Creed, the Lord's Prayer and a pious invocation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, offering this trial in a spirit of faith in God and charity towards their brothers and sisters, with the will to fulfil the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the Holy Father's intentions), as soon as possible.
 
To Health Care Workers, Family Members and those caring for Sufferers
 
Health care workers, family members and all those who, following the example of the Good Samaritan, exposing themselves to the risk of contagion, care for the sick of Coronavirus according to the words of the divine Redeemer: Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (Jn 15:13), will obtain the same gift of the Plenary Indulgence under the same conditions.
 
This Apostolic Penitentiary also willingly grants a Plenary Indulgence under the same conditions on the occasion of the current world epidemic, also to those faithful who offer
  • a visit to the Blessed Sacrament,
  • or Eucharistic adoration,
  • or reading the Holy Scriptures for at least half an hour,
  • or the recitation of the Holy Rosary,
  • or the pious exercise of the Way of the Cross,
  • or the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy,
 
to implore from Almighty God the end of the epidemic, relief for those who are afflicted and eternal salvation for those whom the Lord has called to Himself.
 
For Sufferers Unable to receive the Sacrament of the Sick or Viaticum
 
The Church prays for those who find themselves unable to receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick and of the Viaticum, entrusting each and every one to divine Mercy by virtue of the communion of saints and granting the faithful a Plenary Indulgence on the point of death, provided that they are duly disposed and have recited a few prayers during their lifetime (in this case the Church makes up for the three usual conditions required). For the attainment of this indulgence the use of the crucifix or the cross is recommended (cf. Enchiridion indulgentiarum, no.12).
 

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