Thu, July 02, 2020

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The Newsletter of St. John the Baptist Parish

23 Shore Street, Port Glasgow PA14 5HD, Tel: 01475 741139

Scottish Charity No. SCO13514

Parish Priest - Reverend Maurice Callaghan



28th June 2020

13th Sunday : Saints Peter and Paul, Apostle (A) 

Please pray for:
† those whose are sick:
James Brannigan, Korbin Gabb (9yrs), Joshua McGivern (baby), Callum Gibson, Isabel Gibson, Finlay Monaghan, Maureen Collins, Derek Voysey, Ben Arkless (age 4yrs), Monsignor Peter Smith, Josephine Watson, Lorna Murray, Anna Mazzoni, Niamh Currie, Megan Edwards, Adam Parker, Nichola Collins, Winnie Bleasdale , Canon Bernard Canning and Alice Mc Intyre
† those whose anniversaries occur about now:
Thomas Brannigan, Edward Brady, Michael (Mick) Archdeacon, John, McDade & John McFadden
Gift aid envelopes: Those who have gift aid envelopes should have them by now. I also have some non-gift aid boxes requested by non- tax payers and these have been sent or posted and you should have them by now.
I still have some blank boxes left  that  other  non- tax payers might want to have as it helps you keep track of the weeks. If you do want one email or phone me your address (or even stick a note of it through parish letter box) and I’ll send you a box.
Thanks to the many people who have now started to get their collections to me.
Church Opening for Private Prayer.
This week we will cautiously open the Church for prayer. Normally there would be no more than 2 or 3 people who just popped into the church for a few moments and they would sit in their usual spot to light a candle or say a prayer. This week will be rather different because we are opening after 3 months closed due to coronavirus.
The precautions as to distancing of 6 feet or 2 metres will have to be maintained or the government would quite rightly not allow us to continue to remain open as we would be a  risk to public health.
Accordingly in order to maintain safety those visiting will be asked to sit in a particular seat in order that the seat be sanitised as they leave. People who visit on their own will be directed in the first instance to individual spaces 1-14 on the map.
 2-4 people from the same household will be asked to sit on either side of the aisle in A-N.
The Church will be entered from the front door and a one-way system means you leave by the side door.
On entry you will be encouraged to use the gel hand sanitisers and towels provided on the table. You should come wearing a mask and should you have no mask you will be offered one You are strongly encouraged unless you have a heath issue to wear a mask.
In the first week we will only have the two big central sections in the Nave open. Candles cannot be lit. The baptistry with the Divine Mercy image will be closed off. Devotional touching of statues images and stations of the cross should be avoided Toilets will remain closed though those supervising will have a key to the sacristy/ toilet area.
All of this will be odd and is a world away from popping into light a candle but we need to keep people safe.
I did say that we’ll open on Sunday. The first session will be from 2-3 pm Sunday. There will also be a further session on Tuesday 2-3pm and then again on Thursday 2-3pm. As I stated it’s unusual for there to be more than 2 or 3 in Church praying but there may be more on Sunday and I would say I think it wise to consider delaying your first visit to later in the week.  Just in case there is a queue.  I don’t believe there will be but just in case. That said Welcome back. The Map gives you an idea just what I’m talking about and will also be the seating arrangement when we first get back to Mass.

I set out below the text of a letter from the diocese following on from the first Ministers announcement Thursday as it impacts the church

Update: 18th June 2020
Dear Rev. Father,
Today the First Minister has announced that we may now move to Phase 2 of the Re-Opening of our Churches. Following the Statement of the First Minister, who continues to urge us to be cautious and the criteria laid out by the relevant Bishops’ Conference Committees, our process for Re-Opening Our Churches into Phase 2 will be as follows.
1. Monday 22nd June 2020 Funeral Masses may be celebrated in the Diocese of Paisley from Monday 22nd June 2020.
Please note that Funerals have always been an exception for the Scottish Government but that the Bishops decided that we would not celebrate Funerals in Church during the crisis.
Accordingly, with the move into Phase 2, to provide for the comforting of families, a Funeral Mass may be celebrated from Monday 22nd June.
2. Sunday 28th June, the first Sunday after the lockdown eases, churches may open for personal prayer.
  • Appropriate stewarding and santisation measures must be in place.
3. Sunday 5th July, churches may open for personal prayer.
  • Appropriate stewarding and santisation measures must be in place.
4. Monday 6th July, from today, churches may be opened on weekdays for personal prayer.
  • Appropriate stewarding and santisation measures must be in place.
A number of matters still need to be clarified, and we await a statement from the Bishops’ Conference which we hope will provide this.
The First Minister is due to review the situation and report to Parliament on any developments on 2nd July. Once we have begun Phase 2 we will prepare for Phase 3. We will keep you advised of any developments.
The above text is largely self-explanatory and I am sure we all welcome the cautious movement forward for our church and society in general as we move forward
Funeral Masses The first item is particularly welcome in that families for many weeks now could not be present in Church for a funeral Mass this changes this coming Monday  (22nd) with a congregation of up to 12 present in Church and with the possibility here in St John’s of also having the Mass streamed on the internet for those who cannot attend due to the restriction  in numbers attending to 12. Appropriate sanitation and stewarding  measures I will outline later as they applynot just funerals but as we move into opening for personal prayer and  eventually thereafter for Mass with a congregation when the Government permits such gatherings as part of the phased reopening of society.
The opening of churches for personal prayer: Note that this is later than government earliest date for opening but in our Diocese this is the agreed date and thereafter there will be a pause for a week till Sunday 5th July. From that Monday churches can be open for personal prayer on weekdays. It will be nice to be able to at least for a little while to get back int the church but I caution you that this will be strange experience at first and won’t really be just popping into the church in passing to light a candle. This is necessitated by the phrase” Appropriate stewarding and sanitation measures”
Appropriate stewarding will mean that someone will be tasked to point you to a particular pew and take a note of which pews have been occupied. Individual pews will be taped off. You will only be able to sit in these taped off areas.
The side wings of the church (the transept) and the little divine mercy room will be closed off and votive candles will be removed from the church until further notice.
There will be only one entrance from the front of the church and the church will be exited from the side door. There will be markers on the floor to give the 2 metres spacing. The appropriate spacing means that we can only seat approximately 40 people in the church.
This limited number will be more relevant when we move to the opening of the Church for Mass.
Hand gel and paper towels will be made available at the entrance and exit of the church. It is strongly encouraged that masks (these need not be medical and a light scarf would be sufficient) should be worn and people should bring their own mask however a limited supply of masks will be made available for those unable to access masks.
Weddings and Baptisms: You may have spotted in the First Minister’s announcement that small open-air weddings are now permitted by the government in this phase of opening but these must be conducted out of doors. The Catholic church does not celebrate marriage in this manner so we must wait for the next phase of opening for church weddings. This also applies to small baptisms which again we had hoped might be permitted.
There had been indications that small church weddings and baptisms might be allowed but this has not proved to be the case.
Further Developments: You will note that all of this is provisional and subject to what the Scottish Government and Bishop’s Conference decide as they react to developments so no map as to what will happen beyond what can be set out in the Scottish Government’s general indications as to what they envisage as being appropriate measures This is available on their site online
Stop Press:
The Bishop has just sent an email prior to my putting this up on the parish website and it may not appear in all bulletins. I copy it in full below
Re-opening of Churches in Paisley Diocese
My Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Following the guidelines issued by the Bishops Conference Covid-19 Infection Control Group, we are delighted to announce the opening of our churches from Sunday 28th June. 
While other parts of the country will re-open sooner, we are particularly aware that the virus has impacted our local community more heavily and tragically.  The people of Paisley diocese were disproportionately harmed by it and, sadly we now know, Inverclyde had the highest level of infection and deaths in Scotland.  In light of this it is good for us to be sensitive, steady and careful in our approach, ensuring our people’s trust that all our parishes are fully prepared for re-opening, with volunteers and PPE in place.  
From Sunday 28th onwards, churches may also open on weekdays for limited periods of time if all the sanitation and social distancing guidelines laid down by the Covid-19 Group can be followed.  Parish priests who are not comfortable that such guidelines are in place will be supported in their decisions to hold off for up to another week after Sunday 28th June.
All of us who have been looking forward to the day of our churches re-opening, clergy and faithful, are glad at this news.  I know that those who hoped our doors would be open immediately for private prayers from Monday will understand our short delay and the particular considerations in play in our diocese that make it more appropriate for us.  
I also want to take this opportunity to thank Canon Tom Boyle, Monsignor Gerry Gallagher and Father Paul Brady who are our Covid-19 Infection Group representatives at national and diocesan level for all their good work and continuing to advise us well as things develop around the other dioceses.
May God bless you all as we continue to pray for each other.
Bishop of Paisley
Commentary: The obvious Change is that weekday opening for prayer can now take place from Monday 29th June for limited periods of time. as currently advised this will be for no more than an hour or so on a few weekdays.
How few or many will depend on how many volunteers we can get to supervise weekday sessions> if you are  in good health and in the age group and would like to help for an hour or so once a week phone me or email me and I can set up a rota.  

An Act of Spiritual Communion

My Jesus,
I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.
Remember, you can receive Jesus in your heart from anywhere you might happen to be, at any time, The Catechism teaches that a Spiritual Communion “is an act of devotion, and one very pleasing to God.” A good time might be if you are following Mass on TV or online at the time when you would receive Holy Communion.
Do you know a neighbour who lives alone or has no support from social services? Please consider the following:
  • Go to their door but do not enter.  Ask if they need help or shopping.
  • If you do get shopping leave it at the door, put any change in an envelope and knock the door but do not enter.
  • If you cannot help offer the following telephone number 07761 055997 which will be checked by the St Vincent de Paul who will try to help.

Funeral Services


Inverclyde Funeral Services Ltd 

Balfour House
6 Balfour Street
Port Glasgow
Renfrewshire  PA14 5HF
Tel: 01475 745678

Church Hall


   St John The Baptist Church Hall

 Available for hire

Contact Catherine on

Tel: 07935 391884 


Funeral Services


Co-Operative Funeralcare

12-14 Princess Street
Port Glasgow
Renfrewshire PA14 5JQ
Tel: 01475 742052