Re-opening the Church

Update 3rd July

We have just finished the allocation of places for those who have applied to come to mass this Sunday.  We are glad to say that 63 of us plus Fr Gerardo and Deacon Sean will be present.  Please do encourage any others you know to contact us for places: we can fit a good 30 to 40 more people in.
Looking forward to seeing youThe ROCC [Re-Opening of the Church Committee] 

Update 2nd July 

We are very happy to announce that mass at our church will re-commence at 10.00am this Sunday, 5th July.

If you would like to attend, please read the notes below and reply giving the requested information.

Looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible

The Re-Opening the Church Committee


  1. No one will be admitted by the stewards if considered to be at risk.
  2. If either you or one of those attending with you subsequently falls ill of suspected Covid-19, please immediately contact the parish so that others sitting near you can be notified.
  3. All attending Mass are expected to comply with the safety procedures and practices that are in operation
  4. Please arrive early to ensure ample time for all safety procedures to be carried out
  5. Everyone will be expected to bring a face covering and use the hand sanitiser that is provided
  6. Ensure social distancing at all times
  7. You will be guided to your seat where you shall remain for the whole of the Mass
  8. Households will be grouped together and 2m from any other household group
  9. Your seating place will be denoted by a ‘guardian angel’ sign
  10. You will be dismissed in an orderly fashion at the conclusion of the Mass
  11. Please do not linger or congregate in the car park after Mass
  12. If you know of any Catholics in your family, friends or vicinity who may not have e-mail, please offer to send additional booking requests on their behalf.
  13. If you have a booking and subsequently cannot attend, please notify the parish office so that the place[s] can be re-allocated


If you would like to book a place, please reply to this email giving the following information:

Address of household:

Main contact phone number:

Main email address

Names of those from your household wishing to attend.

Please note that all names listed here will be seated together.  Places will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis

Booking form (Word version)

Earlier information – planning for the re-opening

I am sure that you are aware that the Government has given permission for religious services to restart from 4th July.

It is Fr Gerardo’s hope that we will be able restart mass at Our Lady of the Wayside Church from Sunday 5th July. We know that returning to Mass in our own Parish Church is something many of you have looked forward to for a long time.  

The ‘Re-Opening the Church Committee’ has already met to consider how we can achieve this. The safety of our parishioners is paramount and therefore we will only open for mass on the 5th July at 10.00am if it is safe to do so.

We are required to fulfil a set of new rigorous requirements placed on us to ensure the safety of anyone coming to a re-opened church for mass and without sufficient Volunteers from within the Parish to help satisfy these we will not be able to re-open for Mass. 

Apart from ensuring we have sufficient supplies of the necessary cleaning materials, sanitisers and personal protective equipment we need members of the Parish to volunteer for the following tasks:-

1.  To clean the church to the necessary standard. 

An initial cleaning session will be required on Saturday 4th July to enable us to re-open but subsequently, cleaning after each mass could be completed within the hour, providing we can get sufficient people to join the team. We hope that sufficient numbers of people will volunteer to allow us to form more than one team to reduce the pressure on everyone.

2. To act as Stewards 

Stewards, will be required to be at Church by 9.30am on Sunday. Their duties will revolve largely around escorting Parishioners to and from their seats and dealing with any unanticipated situations that may arise. Full training will be provided. This will take place at 6.00pm On Thursday 2ndJuly.  We have estimated how many Stewards will be required for Mass but again hope that sufficient numbers volunteer to allow us to form more than one team. 

May we therefore take this opportunity to seek your help and ask you to volunteer for either of or both roles of Cleaner and Steward. Sadly, without enough parishioners coming forward we may not be able to re-start services 

We ask of course, that anyone in a vulnerable category exercise due discretion in volunteering.

Going forward Mass will be quite different.

  • You will have to book in
  • Upon arrival at church, you may have to queue (at either front or rear entrance) maintaining a 2 meter social distance in line with markings on the ground. 
  • You are asked to bring your own mask with you and wear it for the whole of mass, except when receiving Holy Communion
  • Upon entrance to the narthex or rear porch, you will be asked to sanitise your hands and then wait to be called forward.
  • A steward will then ask you your name(s) and take you to your pre-allocated seat(s)
  • You will stay in your seat(s) for the whole of mass; communion will be brought to you by either Fr Gerardo or Deacon Sean
  • There will be no servers.  Fr Gerardo and Deacon Sean will keep to separate parts of the sanctuary, maintaining the correct social distance.
  • The reader will have no lectern and use her/his own missal
  • A member of the ROC committee will talk to the congregation before mass starts
  • Mass will only start when everyone queuing has been seated.
  • Just before Holy Communion, Fr Gerardo will hold up the consecrated host and say “Body of Christ” and then the chalice, saying “Blood of Christ”.  Each time, we will reply “Amen”.  Communion, under one kind only, will then be distributed in silence.
  • When safe to do so, a steward will invite you to leave church in an orderly fashion, carefully maintaining social distance
  • There will be no candles, no visits to the Lady Chapel, no piety stall, no Tradecraft stall.
  • There will be no singing 
  • There will be no visits to the sacristy.
  • The toilets will be locked
  • The Day chapel and the balcony will be out-of–bounds.

We ask you to bear with us in all this.  It may seem draconian but it is all designed to keep us all as safe as possible.  The parish has received extensive guidance both from the Bishop’s Conference as well as from the Vicar General’s office.  It is these guidelines that we are seeking to follow. 

Please also consider your ability to cope with the new arrangements which may be physically demanding for some Parishioners before you consider booking into a Mass. 

We are adopting a “Baby Steps” approach to re-starting mass.  As we get used to it and as lockdown hopefully eases, we look forward to relaxing some of these restrictions.

Nevertheless, despite these restrictions, it will be wonderful when we can gather again as a community and worship our God through the celebration of Holy Mass.  There will be a very special joy at our first mass back together again.

Re-opening the Church – Further information & booking arrangements

We hope to re-open the church for 10.00am mass Sunday 5th July.  The trouble is, we can only open for one mass as the church needs extensive cleaning after every time it is opened.  Indeed back to back masses, like 9.00am and 11.00am on a Sunday. are expressly forbidden.  Furthermore numbers attending are limited by the need to maintain two metre social distancing; we estimate that the maximum capacity will be between 80 and 100 people, depending on how many are household groups (who can sit together).

Yet, there are about 400 people who used to attend mass before the lockdown.

For better or for worse, the solution we have come up with is to ask those who would like to attend mass to book in on a first-come-first-served basis.  As we receive the requests to attend mass, we will allocate seats with household groups sitting together and single people by themselves until all the possible seats are filled.  All requests received after this point will be the first to be allocated for mass the following Sunday (or whichever Sunday you want).

However, as you are aware, there are several reasons why we may not be able to safely open for mass on Sunday 5th July (lack of PPE / cleaning materials, not enough volunteer cleaners, not enough volunteer stewards).  We believe that we will be able to make a decision about this on the evening of Thursday 2nd July.  If and only if we judge that it will be safe to open for mass, we will send you a booking email that evening.  It is in response to that email only that we will accept bookings.  You will be asked to give contact details, should someone subsequently fall ill of Corvid-19, so that those sitting around them may be contacted.

We ask you to reach out to the family, friends and neighbours you know who are not on our e mail list and offer to become their booking contact person.  In this way a lack of IT skills or electronic equipment will not become a barrier to attending mass.  If you wish to book a place at mass for different people, please send a separate email/booking form for each household group.  We attach a booking form (please click here), so that you may prepare your booking(s) if wished.

Please bear with us as we all struggle with these completely new and strange circumstances.  Despite our fumblings, they are done with the best intentions for you and the parish

State of play – Committee update 27/6/2020

Volunteers Needed

We hope to re-open Our Lady of the Wayside for mass at 10.00am this coming Sunday, 5th July.  However, we cannot do this if we do not have enough volunteers.  It would not be safe and this we will not do.

Cleaners: we would like at least 20 cleaners (for two teams of 10).  At present we have 10 with only 7 able to make it for this Saturday morning, 4th July, which will be a lot of extra work because the church has not been cleaned for 3 months.

Stewards: again we would like 20 stewards for (for two teams of 10).  At present we have 3.  Training is 6.00pm Thursday 2nd but we can always find a way around it if you cannot make that particular time.