It's a long time almost 50 days of hibernation.
It's certainly a long time for all parish activity to be on hold, except for funerals, which still, unfortunately, can't take place in the church.
Lockdown can't go on forever, but it is looking like it will be a good while longer before we have public Masses. Let's hope it's not too long before the church is opened again, even for quiet contemplative prayer.
You may have seen that the Scottish Government has set up a website asking for ideas on how to reopen society. This link is about places of worship:
It would be good if this proposal made it to the top of the list, so please take the chance today to have your say and spread the word. You have to register in order to rate the proposal but it is a very simple process.
Also, the Bishops of Scotland have announced the formation of a Covid-19 Working Group, which will work on an Infection Control Protocol to govern the phased reopening of churches for public worship at an early and safe opportunity, in accordance with legislation. For more details, see the archdiocesan website.
The clergy and extraordinary ministers of holy communion in the parish unfortunately are still not permitted to do any pastoral visiting. This is probably one of the most difficult and toughest things we are having to abide by, but every effort is being made to do what we can to provide pastoral care within the restrictions.
We might not have church services, halls and parish activities, and pastoral visitation, but our telephone, email, website, Facebook & Twitter ministry continues in our parish during these times. If you or someone you know would like a call or an email, please don't hesitate to say. Call 942 4635 or email email@example.com If you have an anniversary you'd like announced, or would like a birthday shoutout, let us know.
Great to hear, as well, of all the zooming and whatsapping that is going on. Embroidery group zooms weekly, as does one of the parish prayer groups. Halls committee will be zooming soon. I'm sure there's a whole lot more parish zooming going on. Our online team keep our social media up to date daily.
Still not too late to send in May altar photos. We've got a wee idea for Pentecost that we'll announce soon.
There's a half day monthly retreat for diocesan priests, and thanks to WhatsApp I've managed to attend, albeit virtually, the April and May retreats. Looking forward to the June one.
This month would have been a particularly busy one in many ways, not least with the celebrations of first holy communion which would have been this Sunday and next for the P4 boys and girls. P7 pupils were looking forward to the celebration of Confirmation which would have been this Wednesday 13th May. When circumstances permit, and as part of the post lockdown parish celebrations, we look forward to the children and their families celebrating these special moments on their journey of faith.
I know that many of you are enjoying live streamed Masses from various places around the world. Just a reminder that the Cathedral streams Mass twice per day, Monday to Saturday (1.0pm and 5.15pm) and on Sundays at 10am, 12noon and 5.15 pm. You can join spiritually through their website or by going to www.mcnmedia.tv/camera/st-andrews-cathedral.
Monsignor Ryan and I continue to celebrate Mass daily separately, praying for the parish community and their intentions.
Just a reminder, food donations for the Drumchapel foodbank can be left in the chapel house porch and our volunteers are regularly delivering to those in need. Also, if you know of anyone who lacks resources to buy food, please mention the foodbank at St Joseph's, Milngavie (hall on left hand side), which opens from 2pm to 3.30pm on Fridays and 12.30-13.30pm on Sundays.
Our soup run volunteers continue to deliver more than 700 GWR hot meals each week to families and individuals in need. This includes deliveries to Drumchapel and St Gregory's foodbanks, those in emergency accommodation across the city and a registered charity in Drumchapel supporting vulnerable families. A delivery of 75 fish suppers was made to the Wayside Club for the homeless on Friday evening there.
Also, Pope Francis, last Sunday announced: "I have accepted the proposal of the Higher Committee for Human Fraternity that on this coming Thursday, 14th May, believers of all religions should unite spiritually for a day of prayer, fasting, and works of charity, to implore God to help humanity overcome the coronavirus pandemic."
So, remember this Thursday, as well as clapping for carers, to pray, fast and perform works of charity.
Looking forward to Monsignor's reflection for today's gospel, and to Deacon Tommy's for next Sunday's.
Hope you have a lovely peaceful Sunday.