Continuing with the Restrictions
As you may know, the First Minister announced last week that there will be no immediate changes to current restrictions, so the Guidelines we have in place just now will remain in force for at least the next three weeks. You will be aware of localised lockdowns in parts of England, and that the UK Government is tightening the restrictions on churches by requiring face-coverings. This is, of course, already the case here in Scotland, but it highlights that the restrictions we face can be tightened as well as loosened. To try and avoid tightening of restrictions on places of worship in Scotland we need to make sure that we are consistently applying the current Guidelines, and that we can keep doing so over the longer term. It’s easy to get fed up with them, especially when they cause real pastoral difficulties (as with the 20 limit on funerals and weddings), or complacent about them, but we need to keep on following them to protect our communities. There have already been a couple of clusters in the West of Scotland, and we want to make sure, in so far as we can, that none of them affect us or our fellow parishioners.
Shielding has now been suspended, so those who are shielding can attend Mass or other acts of public worship. The Government has asked that we give special consideration to the shielding to make sure that they feel safe attending communal worship again. Those who were shielding, and are housebound, can also now receive Holy Communion at home, following the Guidance on the care for the sick that was previously issued. (Hospital chaplaincy is also now returning to normal).
Thanks again for all that you are doing.
With best wishes,
Canon Paul Gargaro