After the government’s latest announcement regarding restrictions due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, churches will now no longer be open for private prayer.

In a letter to all clergy and religious houses of the diocese, Bishop Terry said: “In view of the latest government guidelines we will now close all our churches and chapels, even for private prayer. The government were very clear in what they said and later published on their website – see attachment.

“We continue the live-streaming of the Mass, and indeed any other prayers and devotions which you might consider helpful, but note again it is a private mass, the celebrant alone.

“Let’s keep one another in prayer. Each afternoon between 5pm and 6pm I will be praying especially for all the priests, deacons, religious and lay faithful of the diocese, asking the Lord to look mercifully on us and deliver us from these present circumstances.

“I will remember all the sick, those who have died and their families and loved ones, all our health-workers and those who provide our essential services. Why not join me at that time and we pray together?”

Bishop Terry celebrated Mass at the cathedral on Tuesday morning as we continued our regular 10am streamed service.

In his homily, he said: “Situations like this often bring out the worst in people but they also bring out the best in people and there seems to be a new growth of community spirit.

“We all belong to the human family and to God’s family. It’s easy to believe in God’s providence when all’s going well. When times are a little bit darker, we begin to doubt. But he doesn’t desert us, he walks by our side, as he did with those two disciples on the Road to Emmaus.”

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