Dear Parishioners,

I suspect, like me, you were hoping this ‘situation’ would have resolved itself by now. Given the most recent announcements from the government it looks like there is no end in sight until at least July for this lockdown and even then with certain restrictions still in place. This being the case, I wish to write to you to make connection with you and re-establish the channels of communication. I miss you all and so I propose to use the internet as a place of connection as, really, this is one of the only things we have available to us at the moment. For those of us who do not have access to the internet it is my hope that we can get updates printed off and posted to those whose addresses we have.

In that regard, it’d be really useful if you have your contact details, that you forward them to me, i.e. name, email address or house address and phone number that’d be great. I have a few people’s details but not many from the three parishes. This way we can at least touch base. If you don’t wish to, I understand, some of us are naturally more competent at the hermit lifestyle!

Just as a bit of background update on the practical stuff: it has been as busy as ever for myself. There is always plenty to be getting on with. The church at Saint Charles parish now is free from scaffolding for the first time in four years! If you have ever looked at Saint Charles in google maps with the 3D option engaged, you’ll have noticed that the scaffolding was such a permanent feature that it shows up in 3D as though part of the building….hopefully the next time the satellite goes over for it’s scan it will correct that anomaly!

At Saint Mary and Saint Joseph the investigation into the cement mortar that was placed over the original lime mortar has shown that we may get away with it not all being removed and replaced. The main area of concern is the water table at the bell tower end where the carpark is higher than the entrance level. Time will tell.

At Saint Peter and Saint John Fisher the roof repairs over the parish centre that were done shortly before lockdown are holding up well, although some further work needs to be done on some of the flashing.

With all three churches there are many things on the ‘things to do’ list as with any building. I am sure you’ll have found yourself cracking on with a few of those jobs that you have been putting off for years! Ok, enough about buildings.

Celebrating Mass long-term on my own is strange. I keep you all in prayer and in some ways, your absence makes you all the more present. Like the ‘deafening silence’! I pray for your intentions and health of body, mind and soul. Please pray for me too! I look forward to hearing from you at some point.


With kind regards and blessings to you all,

Fr James