Following the announcement by the Government to extend the current restrictions for another month we have had to revise our plans for returning to a fuller schedule from the beginning of July. I am conscious that the new proposed reopening date towards the end of July coincides with the start of the school holidays, which would affect the reintroduction of the Family Mass and little church in the Crypt and the attendance at the Sunday evening Mass.
Plus, I am concerned in case there is a further extension of restrictions. Therefore, following consultation it is proposed that we delay opening the Crypt for Masses until the beginning of September. This will coincide with the end of the holiday period and the start of a new school and university term. The start date of 3 / 4 July that we were working towards for our new Mass schedule will now be put back to 1 September 2021 when we will start the new revised Mass times on the weekend of 4 / 5 September and continue on then with our revised weekday Masses. In headline terms here are our proposed schedule for the months of July and August. The current weekend and daily Mass schedule will continue as at present until September. Mass will not take place in the Crypt until September. The routines at Mass that we currently have in place that you are all now accustomed to – a one-way system, hand sanitiser, social distancing, communion at the end of Mass, and under one kind only, one reader etc will continue from now until September.
There will be a few changes that you may notice. All of the Chapels around the Cathedral will be open from 5 July.
The Blessed Sacrament Chapel will be open for private prayer.
The public toilets will be open Monday – Friday and closed at the weekend.
The Cathedrals summer opening times will be;
Monday – Friday 10am – 4pm
Saturday 9am – 5pm
Sunday 8am – 4pm
There will be a full team of Guides/Welcomers on duty during the weekday and on a Saturday.
Our Sunday 11.00am Mass will continue to be live streamed.
It has been frustrating for everyone connected to the Cathedral not to re-open fully in July as we had planned, but we have to be sure that it is safe to do so. We really do hope that by September we will be open fully and offering more Masses and liturgies to you, and the full Cathedral experience to all our visitors. Please keep the Cathedral in your prayers that this day will soon be here! Thank you all for your patience and co-operation.
Canon Anthony O’Brien