Coronavirus (COVID-19) information and updates
and liturgy support for Adults and children

Last  Updated: 6th April 2020

In response to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic we are no longer able to gather for Mass as a community at any time, weekdays, Holy Days and Sundays, until further notice. This takes effect from Friday evening, 20 March 2020.  In the Cardinal’s letter he stresses that in these emergency circumstances, and for as long as they last, the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days is removed. A crisis such as this is a call to more fervent prayer. Fr Danny will continue celebrating Mass privately in the sacristy with no congregation present.Thank you for your co-operation at this time.

Dear friends and parishioners of St Thomas More,
Let us all pray for each other, for our medical teams, Government Ministers and their advisers.
I pray particularly that you will keep well, safe and happy.
With every blessing.
Fr Danny

On this page, we will publish information, links and resources likely to be of particular interest to the Knebworth Catholic community. We will be providing regular updates, so please visit often and share this page with your friends in the parish.

Accessing live stream Masses

This page on the Diocese website will be updated regularly as more live streaming becomes available. 

https://rcdow.org.uk/news/how-to-participate-in-mass-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/

St Vincent de Paul Society (SVP) has introduced a new quick online way of enrolling new auxiliary members who are already known to the Parish SVP or Parish Priest. The process is aimed at volunteers looking to help out with shopping and picking up prescriptions etc. and there are also plans for Telephone Befrienders too. If you are interested in finding out a bit more about this or if you know of anyone who needs help (this is open to anyone, they don’t have to be part of the parish to receive help) then please telephone either Rachel Sporton 07941 965675 or Robert Chronnell 01438 715553 - St Thomas More SVP.

“A branch on the door”: Call to connect on Palm Sunday - What if everyone on Sunday April 5 in the morning, puts a branch on the door of their house or in the window, to celebrate Palm Sunday? It could be any green branch you can find. Despite the social distancing, this would help keep us connected as we enter into the Holiest of Weeks. We may be physically isolated, but not separated. We are united as the Body of Christ. We are the Church.

Prayer materials for Holy Week at Home

What does it mean for our spiritual well-being and salvation if we can’t fulfil our “Easter Duties”? The Cardinal has recorded a video message about Easter Duties and Confession. You can watch it here
Holy Week Programme at Westminster Cathedral: Find the Cathedral's live stream here
Praying Holy Week 2020 With Our Five Senses (St Beuno's): Download the leaflet here
A Little Retreat for Holy Week: Archbishop John Wilson, the Bishop of Southwark, has prepared a series of three short meditations to form "A Little Retreat for Holy Week". You can find the videos on the RC Southwark YouTube Channel or visit http://www.rcsouthwark.co.uk/ for more information. 
Reflection Sheet (St Beuno's) - Palm Sunday, Yr A
From TenTen (for children on Maundy Thursday) – Mass of the Last Supper Gospel Video
Reflection Sheet (St Beuno's) - Easter Sunday, Yr A

Faith leaders on prayer and worship during pandemic: On Thursday 2nd April, a video was released of the Cardinal in conversation with Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis on the effect of the pandemic on the closure of places of worship, how this is affecting our prayer life and ending by praying Psalm 23 together.

Here is a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoVD2pegDJA 

The Re-dedication of England as the Dowry of Mary

On Sunday, 29 March 2020 – at midday – England will be re-dedicated to Mary, as we give ourselves, as the people of this country, to Mary. Although we can’t be in our churches, we can be part of the virtual congregation at home. We can respond in two ways; by making a personal promise and a communal entrustment.

In 1381, in a world of political turmoil, King Richard II, having sought the assistance of Mary, Mother of God, dedicated England to Mary as a gift or ‘dowry’. This year, the Christians of England are invited to offer themselves as a personal gift to her, in one great Re-dedication of England as Mary’s Dowry.

This Re-dedication is both a personal promise of the people of our country, and a renewal of the entrustment vows made by King Richard II in 1381.

The Angelus Promise is a spiritual exercise created to assist us to embrace the message of Our Lady, as expressed in Mary’s openness to God’s call, through her faith-filled ‘yes’. Through our own faith-filled ‘yes’, the Lord will work wonders in our lives.

At the Shrine, the Rector will briefly introduce the Re-dedication at 11.45am and invite people to a short time of prayer. The Re-dedication itself will take place at noon, at the beginning of the Pilgrim Mass which will be livestreamed.

You can watch Cardinal Vincent Nichols video message here as he leads us in making a personal re-dedication to Our Lady.

You can download the Angelus Promise and Act of Entrustment to join in with the prayers at home.

More information can be found here: https://www.behold2020.com/

Pope’s special Urbi et Orbi blessing: ‘God turns everything to our good’ – 27 March 2020

‘Urbi et Orbi’ Homily by Pope Francis

Litany of Supplication used at special Urbi et orbi

URGENT APPEAL ON BEHALF OF THE FOOD BANK  - WITH SCHOOLS CLOSED AND SO MANY CONFINED TO HOME THE FOOD BANK IS MORE THAN EVER A VITAL SOURCE OF FOOD FOR THE NEEDY.  THE STEVENAGE FOOTBALL CLUB IS ASSISTING IN THE DELIVERY OF FOOD TO PREVENT FOLK HAVING TO COME TO COLLECT IT. HOWEVER, WE NEED THE INWARD FLOW OF FOOD TO CONTINUE. ONE CERTAIN PLACE IN WHICH MAKE A GIFT IS AT THE CO-OP STORE IN KNEBWORTH.  IF YOU ARE ABLE TO DONATE PLEASE BRING THE FOOD DIRECT TO THE CO-OP AND NOT TO THE CHURCHES AS THEY ARE ALL CLOSED.   WITH MANY THANKS.

A Great Idea and Suggestion…

During these very challenging days and weeks, many people have written in appreciation for the daily message from Pope Francis. One person wrote us with a great idea which we are passing along.  

After she receives her daily message from Pope Francis, she takes the time to call a relative who does not have access to email, and she reads the daily message to her over the phone.  

We thought this was a touching and very loving way to share the message and to reach out to those who may feel particularly isolated during these difficult days.   

We’re passing along this idea, since we know there are so many people in need of a human voice and a consoling message. A small gesture, perhaps, but something most could do in this time of great powerlessness and vulnerability.  

Thank you for subscribing to the Pope’s Daily Message and please pass it along... Anyone can sign up here.

From TenTen  

Ten Ten has decided to make freely available our Collective Worship resources to all schools and their families. We have created a new series of resources called Prayers for Home, which include:

Sunday Liturgy for Families

Daily Prayers for Home

We will continue to create original resources for families throughout the Easter holidays and beyond during this uncertain time for teachers, children and their families.




Prayers in response to the Coronavirus pandemic…

Are you reeling at the moment from the impact of coronavirus? Are you wondering how you’re going to cope with months of isolation or social distancing? Are you worried about work, money or how the country is ever going to recover from the impact of this pandemic? And are you looking for some kind of spiritual solace, but struggling to find words to pray. Then this little book could be just the thing for you.

It contains 52 prayers written in response to the crisis, asking for strength, encouragement and support, as well as help for loved ones and the wider world. Honest, down-to-earth and heartfelt, it’s a resource written to help you articulate what you are feeling and bring you hope in these dark and difficult days.

Grab your FREE eBook here

Churches Together in England have released the following statement

As our nation faces the unprecedented challenge of the coronavirus pandemic, Churches Together in England (CTE) is encouraging Christians across our nations to continue uniting in prayer, praying #PrayersOfHope in their homes at 7.00 pm each Sunday evening.

Following the overwhelming response which the National Call to Prayer and Action received on Mothering Sunday, CTE has prepared a candle poster for those who would like to place a permanent symbol in their front windows of Christ’s light shining in the darkness. Visit www.cte.org.uk/prayersofhope

This poster has been made available due to our awareness of the potential fire risk posed by lighting live candles, particularly on windowsills. We are keen to avoid adding any pressure to our emergency service personnel, particularly at this difficult time.

‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’ John 1:5

Please join us prayer at this challenging time.

Update: 24th March 2020 - Churches to close with immediate effect

Following on from the Prime Minister's message yesterday evening, churches in the Diocese of Westminster are to close with immediate effect and to remain closed until further notice. Mass continues to be celebrated by Fr Danny. Fr Danny will continue to be praying for your intentions and for all who are suffering at this time andfor all the brave people who are working in the health service, those in key professions.

In a message to clergy last night, the Cardinal said: 'All churches must be closed, and remain closed. It is essential that we all follow this instruction, painful and difficult though it is.'

You can read the Cardinal's message to the faithful here: https://rcdow.org.uk/news/churches-to-close-with-immediate-effect/

You can watch the Cardinal's message below to us today (24th March) following the Prime Minister's historic announcement last night (23rd March) strengthening restrictions in an attempt to combat the spread of COVID-19. 

Dates for your diary...

Consecration to Jesus through Mary on the Feast of the Annunciation: All those wishing to consecrate themselves to Christ through Mary on the Feast of the Annunciation are invited to join midday Mass celebrated by Bishop Alan Hopes live streamed from the Catholic National Shrine on Wednesday 25th March 2020. The Consecration Prayers will follow the Homily. 

The Mass will be followed by a procession with the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham and the new Dowry Painting (by Amanda de Pulford), to the site of the original Holy House in the Priory Grounds at Walsingham, where the rededication will take place. After the rededication, the Dowry Painting will begin a journey to every Catholic parish in the country, never to return to Walsingham.

You will be able to watch it here: https://www.walsingham.org.uk/live-stream/

Pope Francis has asked us to join him in prayer this week.

Pope Francis has called on the world’s Christians and people of goodwill to join together to pray the Lord’s Prayer on Wednesday, 25 March at 11am UK time (12pm in Rome). The ‘Our Father’ is the prayer Jesus taught his disciples and the first prayer many of us learned to pray.

Pope Francis also revealed that on Friday 27 March at 5pm UK time (6pm Rome), he will pray on the steps of St Peter’s basilica. Although the square will be empty, there will be a period of Adoration and readings from Scripture.

As Pope Francis explains, ‘To the pandemic of the virus we want to respond with the universality of prayer, of compassion, of tenderness.’ Please join in and please spread the word if you can through your social media, using #PrayForTheWorld.

"Let us be concerned for one another, to evoke a response in love and good words."
Hebrews 10:24

We know that the current arrangements greatly restrict our ability to communicate with each other and the wider Catholic community. This website brings together Catholic newspapers from around the UK.  It contains over 600 editions of various Catholic Newspapers.

Click here for details: www.ChurchPaper.co.uk

For an online copy of the Westminster Record click here: https://issuu.com/rcwestminster/docs/wr_lent_2020

LET US PRAY

The Holy Father offers Sunday Mass on March 22 for those who are dying, especially those dying alone. Pope Francis began Sunday Mass by expressing this prayer intention:

“In these days we're hearing the news of so many people who are dying … dying alone, without being able to say goodbye to their loved ones...  Let's think about them and pray for them.  For families as well, who cannot accompany their loved ones on that journey.  We pray in a special way for the dying and for their families. 

My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart ... I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You.  Never permit me to be separated from You.”   

Accessing Mass - Live Streaming Mass At St Hugh of Lincoln (Letchworth)

As a temporary measure to widen accessibility to watch and hear the celebration of Mass to all parishioners in these challenging times, connect to our temporary Youtube page: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4dPNJNiGgOORojgZIMTkUQ from your computer or mobile device while Mass is being celebrated. This will run from 9:30 am to 11:00 am on Sundays.

Children's Liturgy

CAFOD have downloadable children’s liturgy resources which can be found here available for most Sundays throughout the year.

CAFOD is hosting a virtual children’s liturgy of the word at 10am on Sunday as a webinar. While people cannot gather together in person due to coronavirus, they can still come together as a community through prayer. Parents and children are encouraged to join CAFOD online for prayers and reflection on this Sunday’s Gospel. The liturgy will be led by catechists who would usually be leading children’s liturgy in their parish and will be based on our CAFOD children’s liturgy resources. You can register here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. 

4th Sunday of Lent - Light a Candle

Lighting a candle may seem such a small and insignificant thing to do and yet it can and does speak volumes to us if we have open hearts and ears. This coming Sunday the 22nd March is Laetare (joyful) Sunday. Light a candle in the evening as a sign of the life and light that Jesus brings to all. 
Jesus makes his way to Jerusalem with his disciples for the celebration of Tabernacles feast. Against this rich liturgical and symbolic background, there are intense and hostile discussions between Jesus and the people and their leaders. His role and authority as a genuine teacher is questioned. The issue of his possible messianic origins is raised. Then Jesus speaks to the people and says:
I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  (8:12)
In these days when the darkness of illness, fear and isolation is very real may we take heart and remember that no matter how dark it may seem, the life and the hope that Christ offers can never be extinguished, not by Covid-19 nor indeed anything else! 
In the darkness it is so easy to get lost, to lose one’s sense of direction and to feel isolated and alone with no visible presence or familiar landmarks. In this current crisis it feels as though the whole world is somewhat lost in unfamiliar territory, struggling to find its way in a situation where there is no map or compass to direct us. What Jesus promises is that if we turn and ask him for guidance, he will take us by the hand and lead us. He will be the light in our darkness, and he will lead us to life-here and in eternity.
In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, Presidents of CTE (Churches Together in England) are calling all churches to a National Day of Prayer & Action this Sunday. At such a time as this, when so many are fearful and there is great uncertainty, we are reminded of our dependence on our loving Heavenly Father and the future that he holds. At 7pm this Sunday, light a candle in the windows of your homes as a visible symbol of the light of life, Jesus Christ, our source and hope in prayer.

 

Mother’s Day Message (22nd March 2020)

By a happy coincidence Mother’s Day occurs this 4th
Sunday of Lent also known as Laetare Sunday from the Latin word
“to rejoice”. We rejoice to celebrate the mothers of our parish and
our own mothers who have gone before us. We all know that mothers
are very special people who set the tone of family life.

May God bless them all on their special day.
Fr Danny

Pastoral Letter - Fourth Sunday in Lent (22nd March 2020)

CLICK HERE TO VIEW

THE WEDNESDAY WORD

Every Thursday the Wednesday Word can be accessed from the link below.

This gives you the readings and the Gospel for the following weekend.

http://www.wednesdayword.org/

Prayers and positive readings: The diocese has provided a prayer for those in isolation, which you are encouraged to download, use and share as appropriate.

Prayer when confined to your home - Click here to access it.

Prayers during the Coronavirus Pandemic - Click here to access it. (UPDATED)

Pray As You Go offers a unique opportunity for guided prayer. They have further resources being made available in the coming days and weeks.

Sacred Space (is a ministry of the Irish Jesuits) - Offers daily prayers.  This site guides you through sessions of prayer centered on a passage of scripture. 

Make an Act of Spiritual Communion - You can find details by clicking here.

What to do if you cannot go to Confession or receive Holy Communion?

Spiritual Communion Booklet - Click here to access it

Accessing Live Stream Masses

Please click here to see a list of Mass times that are being live-streamed within the Diocese of Westminster, along with some other useful websites. Alternatively, you can join live streams from around the UK, Ireland and elsewhere here.

The Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham live-streams their 12 noon Mass daily.

 Pope’s daily Masses and the Sunday Angelus are being streamed live on the Vatican’s YouTube channel.

TV EWTN offers daily and Sunday Mass at 12pm and 4pm

Resources to support your prayer life

Westminster Diocese - Resources during Mass Suspension

Westminster Diocese - Resources for Catechists during this time

Please, don't lose heart. Please, get deeper rooted. 
When a plant is deprived of some surface water, it has to put down deeper roots.
We are going to have to put down deeper roots of the Spirit and we know that God will nurture us.

His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols

Make A Home Altar

Most of us have designated places to eat, sleep, work, exercise and unwind at home - 
why not have a designated, special spot to pray, both individually and together as a family?
A home altar serves as a central place for prayer and religious practice in a Catholic household.
Further ideas can be found here –
http://katiewarner.com/homemaking/how-to-make-a-home-altar.html
https://www.catholicicing.com/how-to-set-up-a-home-altar-catholic-home-altar-ideas/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1aAWi2LLdA

Useful Sites

18/03/20 - The Cardinal has recorded a video message about the latest developments and offering a word of encouragement to the faithful. Here’s the link where it can be viewed: 
https://vimeo.com/398532027
14/03/20 - The Cardinal was interviewed on Saturday morning on the Today programme about the Church’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. You’ll find the segment that includes his interview at 8.45am (or 1 hr and 45 min in). Here is the link:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000gdsw
15/03/20 -The Bishops’ Conference have recorded a podcast with Prof Jim McManus, who has prepared the guidance for the Church, in which he explains the current situation in greater detail and offers some useful, practical advice. Here is the link:
https://soundcloud.com/catholicchurch/coronavirus-and-catholics
In light of the government’s advice asking for social distancing and reducing the number of public gatherings, the following  letter was issued on 18th March by the President and Vice-President, on behalf of all the Bishops of the Conference. 
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, so many aspects of our lives must change. This includes the ways in which we publicly express our faith.  It is very clear that, following official advice and in order to keep each other safe, save lives and support the NHS, at this time we must not gather for public acts of worship in our churches.  This will begin from Friday evening, 20th March 2020, until further notice.
Our churches will remain open. They are not closing. They will be a focal point of prayer, where you will find solace and strength.  In visiting our churches at this time, we will observe with great care the practices of hygiene and the guidance on social distancing.
However, the celebration of Mass, Sunday by Sunday and day by day, will take place without a public congregation.
Knowing that the Mass is being celebrated; joining in spiritually in that celebration; watching the live-streaming of the Mass; following its prayers at home; making an act of spiritual communion: this is how we share in the Sacrifice of Christ in these days. These are the ways in which we will sanctify Sunday, and indeed every day.
We want everyone to understand that in these emergency circumstances, and for as long as they last, the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days is removed. This is, without doubt, the teaching of the Church (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2181). This pandemic is the ‘serious reason’ why this obligation does not apply at this time.
You will find more details about the pathway of prayer and sacramental life we are now to take in the accompanying document and on the Diocese of Westminster (rcdow.org.uk) and Bishops’ Conference websites. Your own bishop and parish priest will provide further support, encouragement and information about our way of prayer together in the coming weeks.
The second vital aspect of these challenging times is our care for each other.  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.
During these disturbing and threatening times, the rhythm of the prayer of the Church will continue.  Please play your part in it.  The effort of daily kindness and mutual support for all will continue and increase.  Please play your part in this too. For your commitment to this, we thank you.
‘The Lord is my shepherd,
There is nothing I shall want.’
May God bless us all.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols
President of the Bishops’ Conference
Archbishop Malcolm McMahon
Vice-President of the Bishops’ Conference
18th March 2020

General Coronavirus information issued by the Bishops can be found here.