The Parish of St Aloysius
This page is under construction and will be added to in the coming weeks
15th July 2020
A CHURCH IN TRANSITION
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Like a flower slowly unfolding in the light of day, our chapel on Garnethill has been tentatively opening its doors to the new COVID world: it is a world of uncertainty and grace.
Although national authorities have been entrusting individuals with a fair degree of freedom to intuit best practice regarding personal health-&-hygiene, institutions have not been given such liberty! Whether it be sports stadia, pubs, shops, cinemas etc… the State has clear and demanding expectations as to how to keep gatherings of people safe from the coronavirus.
‘Places of Worship’ are just such institutions, so both the Scottish Government and (for the Catholic community) the Bishops of Scotland have been attempting to find the right balance of freedom and safety in these fluid times. Solomon himself would be taxed to find a wise and pleasing compromise for all the demands and challenges!
For the last three weeks, from Monday-to-Saturday, St Aloysius has been open for Prayer & Confessions for a couple of hours each day. It has been a contemplative space, and people seem to have enjoyed the experience. However, this model of openness has required a sustained presence of priests and volunteers for welcoming, pastoral engagement & cleaning, and it would not be possible to develop this without an extended number of priests and volunteers!
The permission to open for Masses now adds a level of complication. As well as the requirements for individual prayer (facemasks, social-distancing, sanitising of hands, disinfecting the Church after each use etc…), because the Mass will be a ‘gathering’ it will require that all people attending need to be registered so that the NHS can follow-up possible COVID contacts. As you can imagine this registration will need careful scribing before entry into the Church.
Some parishes have started an internet booking-system, which has both advantages and disadvantages, but we have decided (initially) that we will try to leave it open to informal arrivals on the day. Although St Aloysius has a ‘crammed-in’ capacity of over 1000, the legal-limit in any Church for the moment is 50 people. Some people might have particular needs, so we will reserve a few places each Mass, so if you feel that this might apply to you, please contact me at 0141 332 3039.
We are going to try for a single daily mass (Mon-Sat 12.15pm; Sunday at 8.00am), but we are conscious that only 350 people will be able to attend in one week, so initially we encourage even the able-bodied and enthusiastic to attend only one mass in a week – perhaps consciously avoiding Sunday, despite the obvious attractions. We are hoping that this randomness will help even-out arrivals over a 7-day period.
Given the danger still abroad for those who are elderly or have underlying vulnerabilities, please remember that the obligation to attend Mass is still suspended. It would be important that you do not struggle to Church but continue to uphold your cycle of prayer and worship at home at this time. We value your presence and prayers from afar.
The labour intensive need-for-help in the Church is not likely to diminish in the near future, so if some of you would be able to help as a Volunteer, we would be delighted to hear from you. If we could create a team it might allow us to develop and sustain times of prayer and sacramental ministry in the coming weeks. Please email me <[email protected]> if you feel that you can assist.
Below are some of the practical details for the immediate future – as I say, this situation is fluid and things might change, so please continue to enjoy cultivating the gift of patience…
For those who will be able to celebrate Mass in the coming weeks, it is important to be conscious that we do so representing many faithful Christians across the world who are not able to go to Church because of coronavirus or war or famine or persecution. In receiving communion, we come together as the Body of Christ on behalf of countless others who would love to partake in this very physical act of Eucharistein (‘giving thanks’) for the presence of God in our beautiful, yet broken, world.
Fr Dermot Preston SJ
On this page in the coming weeks...
This page will contain information about the life and mission of the parish - there will be a section to introduce you to the parish and the Jesuit Community that serves it, a section to welcome new members to the parish, and sections concerning our many groups and organisations, including:
The Parish Council
Our Readers and Eucharistic Ministers
Our RCIA and Catechism
Our Children's Liturgy
Our Outreach and Public Life
Our work teaching English as a Second Language
Our Work on Laudato Si