…one of them put a further question: “Master, which is the greatest commandment of the Law?” Jesus said to him, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second resembles it: You must love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang the whole Law, and the Prophets too.” (Matthew 22:35-40)
It is with much sadness that we received notification that the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales have taken the necessary decision to suspend gatherings for “public acts of worship in our churches” until further notice, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. We are advised that this will begin from this Friday evening (20th March 2020). Church buildings will be open for private prayer, in line with the government-recommended guidelines on social distancing and hygiene, and the celebration of Mass will also continue “without a public congregation”. A list of parishes in our diocese that provide a livestream Mass will follow shortly and further information is available from https://www.dioceseofsalford.org.uk/latest-updates-on-covid-19/ In the meantime, Church Services TV provides a timetable of all live services in the UK and Ireland, current on or upcoming within the next 2 hours at https://www.churchservices.tv/whats-on-now/
Caritas Salford would like to echo the Bishops’ call for all the faithful to continue and renew “our care for each other”, putting our faith into action. We may be unable to fulfil the first part of the greatest commandment in the way we are most accustomed, with Sunday Mass, but we can and must fulfil the second. As the Bishops say: “There are so many ways in which we are to do this: being attentive to the needs of our neighbour, especially the elderly and vulnerable; contributing to our local food banks; volunteering for charitable initiatives and organisations; simply keeping in touch by all the means open to us.”
Caritas services remain open and we are dedicated to the continuance of our service of the most vulnerable in our diocese. If you would like to help us continue our work, which is even more vital now than ever, please see https://www.caritassalford.org.uk/news/covid-19-continuing-our-support-to-those-in-need/ for information.
Stay with us, Lord, on our journey.