As I write many non-essential shops will be opening their doors again after being shut for over two months. The Prime Minister has urged people to “shop with confidence”.
We are allowed to open our churches from today for private prayer if we are able and have the necessary precautions in place. Since the lockdown we have had to adapt the way we pray and have not been able to gather for Mass which we believe is the source and summit of the Christian life. Our church could be considered non-essential in one way. You often hear people say as a reason they don’t come to church; “I don’t need to go to a church to pray” yet we value the church as a place of quiet that helps us to pray. Many people come to sit quietly or to light a candle. The place and images help us direct our heart and mind to God and enables us to listen in the silence.
But in Catholic churches we have the tabernacle where the consecrated hosts are placed. It will be good to be able to return to kneel or sit before the Blessed Sacrament. Our Archbishop John Wilson, in his letter to the clergy asked “what does it mean to be a Eucharistic disciple?”. One way is to have a deeper appreciation and love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. “Our faith in Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist means that I can be as close to Him as were his first disciples.”
St Thomas of Canterbury Church will not open today but later on when we have organised the volunteers and the cleaning. Thank you to all who have volunteered to help.