Re-Opening Our Cathedral
This page was last updated – Sunday, 21st June 2020 at 08:00am
From Archbishop George Stack:
The Archdiocese of Cardiff and the Dioceses of Menevia and Wrexham welcomes the announcement by the First Minister that churches may be opened for private prayer from Monday 22nd June 2020. In the interests of your continued safety, given the measures that will need to be put in place in the coming days, it seems that Saturday 28th June will be the likely date for those churches who fulfil the health and safety requirements to be opened for a specific time to be announced. With the re-opening of churches, certain responsibilities are laid on both the parish and the diocese to ensure the health and safety of those who come to pray. Amongst these are the following:
Each parish will need to decide the hours of opening and these times will be published on the diocesan website, once the Risk Assessment has been made and the Health and Safety certificate has been issued.
Everyone visiting the church will be required to follow the necessary guidelines and signage to ensure the safety of all.
Each parish will need to provide two or three volunteers to ensure the safe flow and placement of people – seating, distance, cleaning, signage, stewards etc.
a. That the obligation to attend Mass on Sunday remains dispensed.
b. That social distancing (currently two metres) must be observed – except for household groups.
c. Each person must sanitise their hands on entering and leaving the church.
d. Should a person feel unwell, or has been to an infected place in the past 14 days, he or she should not enter the Church.
e. That the numbers entering the church will be restricted – depending on the seating available. One-way entry and exit paths will need to be established.
f. That churches must be cleaned every day prior to opening, and portions cleaned during the time it is opened. Special attention must be paid to pews and door handles. Where possible, windows should be open. Air circulation helps reduce infection.
g. Hymn books, prayer books, pamphlets and leaflets and other items may not be left around for people to handle.
i. That those who are “shielded” or self-isolating must remain at home and not come to the church for private prayer.
j. Some of our churches will be unable to fulfil these requirements through being too small, or not being able to recruit the necessary volunteer stewards or cleaners. Hopefully, the main church in each deanery will be able to welcome visitors from elsewhere.
k. Face coverings may be worn, but are not strictly necessary. Their use is voluntary and not disrespectful to prayer before the Blessed Sacrament or the sacred space which is the church.
l. Parents and guardians bringing children to the church should be mindful to care for them particularly by ensuring they touch as few surfaces as possible for their own safety.
“I rejoiced when I heard them say “Let us go to God’s house, and now our feet are standing within your gates O Jerusalem”. (Psalm 121:1-2)
+ George Stack
Archbishop of Cardiff
22nd June 2020 – Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Last Friday, the First Minister announced that churches and places of worship may be opened for private prayer from Monday, 22nd June 2020. Echoing the sentiments of the Welsh Bishops’ in their statement, this is very good news. The letter of Archbishop George, on behalf of the Welsh Bishops’, ends with the following psalm: “I rejoice when I heard them say ‘let us go to God’s house, and now are feet are standing within your gates O Jerusalem’”.
Behind the scenes lots has been happening to ensure a safe reopening of the Cathedral, and there is still lots to be done before the doors can open:
- The Risk Assessments and all accompanying paperwork which has been prepared over the last couple of weeks needs to be completed and sent to the diocesan Health and Safety executive in order that a faculty be granted in order for us to open. Without this faculty, which ensures that all health and safety guidelines have ben met here at the Cathedral, no church will be able to be opened.
- The Cathedral is scheduled to be deep cleaned by a cleaning company during the week. This is important before the Cathedral can be opened. After each day of opening, the Cathedral will be cleaned before it is able to be reopened again. I am very grateful to the seminarians for their assistance in this.
- I am awaiting the arrival of the PPE, which is on order. All volunteer stewards will be required to wear PPE at all times while assisting at the Cathedral.
- Opening the Cathedral can only happen with the assistance of volunteer stewards. I would like to sincerely thank those people who have volunteered. At the moment, we will be able to open for a set time on Saturday and a short time on Sunday. If you are able to assist during the weekday, in particular, I would be grateful if you could get in touch with me at Clergy House.
I am looking to be able to open the Cathedral as soon as is safely possible to do so, once the criteria has been met, and the faculty granted from the Archdiocese. Please keep checking the Cathedral website (CardiffCathedral.org.uk/coronavirus) and the Cathedral’s social media pages for updated information and for Cathedral opening times.
Yours in Christ,
This will be made available shortly.
When will our churches be open again?
Last Wednesday, Archbishop George participated in a Zoom Meeting of the Faiths Forum, called by the First Minister and Deputy First Minister. One of the items on the agenda was the phased re-opening of churches and other places of worship. From the meeting, Archbishop George would like to share some of issues of the phased re-opening that were discussed during the meeting.
The first phase of the re-opening of churches and places of worship would be based on a traffic light system. In the initial re-opening phase, the light would be at red. This means that there would be controlled entry of individuals into our churches for private prayer, subject to the implementation of the Health and Safety regulations being in place.
Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic is a devolved issue to the Welsh Government, so while news was released Saturday evening confirming the re-opening in England, the time-scale may be slightly different here in Wales. Over the next week, the mammoth task of completing the Risk Assessment for the Cathedral, as well as beginning to make appropriate changes so as to ensure the safety of individuals visiting the Cathedral, will be a priority so that things will be setup and in place ready for the phased opening.
This page of the Cathedral website will contain up-to-date information and news about the phased reopening of the Cathedral. Some of the implications of being in the bred phase for reopening the Cathedral, include: limiting how many people can be inside the Cathedral at one time, introducing a one-way system around the Cathedral, with appropriate markings, having restricted areas within the Cathedral, so as to limit the possibility of transmitting the virus, as well as introducing the sanitiser stations.
The opening of the Cathedral will not be the same as before the virus. The opening times will be limited, and, depending upon the availability of stewards, will not be necessarily open every day. The opening times of the Cathedral will need to take into account the Masses and Services which will continue to take place throughout the day.
In order to make it possible for the Cathedral to be opened during these set times, we are looking for a team of volunteer stewards to ensure the safety of the individuals entering the Cathedral to pray. Here at the Cathedral, I am looking for at least three volunteers per shift in order to ensure the safety of visitors. As per the guidelines issued, the volunteers cannot be over the age of seventy, or be in a vulnerable category.
If you are able to volunteer as a steward at the Cathedral, I would be grateful if you could contact me at Clergy House either by phone or email. If there are very few volunteers, this means that the times of opening the Cathedral will be very limited.