I am pleased to inform you that I am making steady but slow progress with my recovery after being discharged from the hospital and returning to the parish. My main lasting effect of the Coronavirus is fatigue. But I now feel well enough to celebrate the forthcoming Holy Week Liturgies with our community. I thank you so much for your kind thoughts and prayerful support to me during this period of my illness.
There is no doubt that you are all as delighted as I am with the First Minister’s announcement that we can open our Churches for communal worship from the 26th of March. As a result, and taking into consideration my current health condition, I will celebrate the Holy Week Liturgies in St. Fergus only, beginning with Palm Sunday. For the re-opening of St. Anthony’s church Kirriemuir, I will celebrate my first Mass there on Divine Mercy Sunday which is the 2nd Sunday of Easter on 11th April, at the usual time of 9.15 am.
For the Holy Week Liturgies, it is important for us to note that the Bishops have advised us to keep everything as short and simple as possible. Therefore, (1) there’ll be no procession on Palm Sunday, people will pick up palms as they go in, and I will bless them without sprinkling holy water (2) all Readings including the Passion will be taken in their shorter versions (3) on Maundy Thursday, there will be no washing of feet, no procession to the altar of repose, no watching or public stripping of the altar (3) on Good Friday, there will be no Stations of the Cross, only the celebrant will venerate the cross during the Passion celebration (although people can venerate their own if they have brought them eg. rosaries) (4) for Easter Vigil, there will be no bonfire, the paschal candle will be lit in the sanctuary at the beginning, no congregational candles, only 3 readings/psalms from OT, then readings of Mass. Water will be blessed but no blessing of congregation with the Holy Water at the renewal of Baptismal promises. The Alleluia will be intoned from my phone but the Exultet will be recited unless I am able to play it from my phone also.
As attendance is still limited to the number our church can accommodate while maintaining social distancing, may I ask you to book in for the Liturgies as usual. Just text or email me, or Frances Hampton on 0787329168 email: firstname.lastname@example.org, and indicate the days and Liturgies you would like to attend. Please, note that the Bishops granted priests the dispensation to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation again this year with General Absolution of Penitents from 26th March until 11th April. Therefore, I have fixed two Penitential Services with General Absolution on Tuesday 30th March and Tuesday 6th April in Forfar respectively.
Please, endeavour to take advantage of this opportunity provided. The times for all the Liturgies of this Holy Week can be found in the enclosed attachment. Please, do not hesitate to get back to me if you think there is anything I have overlooked. May the blessings of the Lord remain with us both now and always. Amen.
Yours in Christ,