Keeping in Touch 21st June 2020

Re-opening the Church update

Last Thursday, the Re-opening the Church Committee had its first meeting.  Although minutes are not a perfect way to communicate what we discussed, nevertheless, please find them below.

The following may offer some words of explanation/amplification.

Firstly, please note that we are planning to re-open for mass, whenever that is allowed, not for prayer.  The reason is that because of the demanding cleaning regime expected every time the church has been used and because there has not been a tradition of our church being left open for prayer, it was felt that the “costs” outweigh the “benefits”.

Secondly, this cleaning regime involves a “deep clean” after every mass.  It is estimated that this will take between 6 and 10 hours work.  For this reason, we will begin, when allowed, with a single mass at 10.00am on Sundays.  A second mass over the weekend will mean that the deep clean of 6 to 10 hours work will have to be carried out between the masses.

Thirdly, because we are beginning with a single Sunday mass, because we have little idea of numbers wishing to attend and because we do not want to turn people away on a Sunday when the church is “full”, we shall put in place a booking system.

Fourthly, due to the social distancing requirement of two metres, it is estimated that the church can hold between 90 and 130 people safely.  The actual number will depend on the mix of single people, couples and families.

Fifthly, while there is a lot of guidance coming to us from the Vatican, the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and from our own diocese, the real decisions of what must be done and how and when, will come from the agreement that is yet to be made between the Bishops and the Government.  So, for example, if the infection rate starts to rise, with the present loosening of restrictions, then you can well imagine a delay to any agreement to re-open churches for mass.

Sixthly, much remains un-decided, for example: How will communion be distributed? Will singing be allowed?  If funerals are allowed in a crematorium chapel, why not a funeral in a church?

And so, my final point, much of what the committee is doing is provisional.  For example, on Wednesday, there was a two hour site inspection with the parish’s advisor on H&S, going through the Risk Assessment for the re-opening of churches for prayer.  While the Risk Assessment for the re-opening of churches for mass has not yet been distributed (and probably not even agreed or written), nevertheless there will be much in common and so the time spent was valuable in terms of getting ourselves prepared.

On behalf of Fr Gerardo and all the parishioners of our Lady of the Wayside, thanks are offered to the members of the committee for being willing to help with this important work.

Looking forward to when we can worship together once more

Updates from Solihull Council

Several updates to share with you, and as lockdown eases I expect that updates will become more frequent.

Re-opening places of worship

You will have seen that the Government have announced that places of worship can re-open for private prayer from 15 June. We await further guidance regarding this.


From 15th June the number allowed at funerals in Solihull  will increase from 10 to 20 mourners at graveside burial and from 10 to 14 mourners at cremations. Further information can be found here:

Domestic Abuse

In response to an increase in reports of domestic abuse in Solihull £60,000 additional funding has been provided to domestic abuse support. More information can be found here:

To report a child or young person at risk:

Call 0121 788 4300 (Monday to Thursday 8:45am-5.20pm, Friday 8:45am-4:30pm.

If you are calling out of working hours please call 0121 605 6060

Online referral form –

In an emergency always call 999

To report a concern about an adult:

Call 0121 704 8007.

Online referral form

In an emergency always call 999

Probation Services: Call 0121 248 2660

I hope that you find these updates useful. If there is anything would like to discuss please get in contact.


Lara Thompson

Contracts, Grants and Project Officer

Stronger Communities – Housing and Communities

Economy & Infrastructure Directorate

Solihull Council
Tel: 0121 779 8923


Livestreaming Mass from Our Lady of the Wayside Church when re-opened – Computer Wizard Wanted

One of the options we are looking at is to livestream mass from Our Lady of the Wayside Church when it re-opens for mass.

As I am sure you are aware, there are several different ways this can be done.  However they massively vary in price from free to a couple of thousand pounds a year.

We are going for the free option.  However, we could do with some technical help.  Could you or someone you know be the person?  You would have to be happy / conversant with ideas like streamlabs, encoder software and making a desktop talk to a tablet!

If you can help, please e mail –