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By John Smith posted July 20, 2016


update 19th March 2021

COVID-19: National Day of Reflection and Prayer

23rd  March 2021

The President and Vice President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales have urged the faithful to make the National Day of Reflection on COVID-19 a day of prayer as well as a day of reflection. 

Please clink on the link to read the full statement.


Open churches vital for resilience during lockdown, says Cardinal

With the announcement of a new lockdown for England to curb the rapid spread of COVID-19,

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said:

“The regular practice of our faith in God is a well-established source of both personal resilience and dedicated service to those in need.

Such resilience and enduring service are vital in these difficult circumstances.

I am glad that no measures have been introduced that would obstruct or curtail this essential source of energy for the common good.

Catholic parishes will continue to serve the needs of their local community."


Update on COVID-19 and Vaccination

In the light of the recent breakthrough in COVID-19 vaccine development, the Department for Social Justice has issued

a follow up to its September 2020 statement. Please clink on the link to read the full statement.


Statement on the Four-Week National Lockdown in England and a Call to Prayer

Today, Parliament passed into law the Regulations governing many aspects of activity in the whole of England until

Wednesday, 2 December. These Regulations prohibit the gathering of people for communal worship in churches and other religious buildings.

Churches remain open and in use for activities other than communal worship, including personal prayer and support for those in need. Funeral Masses and funeral services may be held.

Please refer to the Regulations (for places of worship see paragraph 18) and associated Guidance.

Despite profound misgivings it is important that we, as responsible citizens, observe these Regulations, which have the force of law:

“Remind them to be obedient to the officials in authority; to be ready to do good at every opportunity” Titus 3:1

We do this in solidarity with so many others on whom are being imposed restrictions which impact severely on their lives and livelihoods.

It is also important to recognise that these Regulations are not an attack on religious belief. However, they do demonstrate a fundamental lack of understanding of the essential contribution made by faith communities to the well-being, resilience and health of our society.

At this difficult moment, we ask that, as a Catholic community, we make full use of our churches 

as places of individual prayer and sources of solace and help.

We must sustain each other in our patterns of prayer, joining a national shared moment of prayer each day at 6pm,

and observing the Vigil of Christ the King (21 November) as a day of prayer for the ending of this pandemic. 

We encourage you all in your practical service and support of each other and those around you in need.

This pathway of prayer and service is the royal road we are to take as a gracious witness in our society today.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President

Archbishop Malcolm McMahon OP, Vice-President


Public Worship is Covid-19 secure, say faith leaders ahead of four-week lockdown in England

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, has joined UK faith leaders in writing to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to express the view that there is no scientific justification for the wholesale suspension of public worship from Thursday, 5 November. The letter has been sent ahead of a four-week national lockdown in England to address the spread of COVID-19.

Click on the link to read the letter


Statement from the President and the Vice-President of the Conference on the Prime Minister’s Statement

This evening, the Prime Minister announced further widespread restrictions in England beginning on Thursday 5 November.

The Government have published their New National Restrictions Guidance on their website.

Whilst there was no formal announcement on Places of Worship by the Prime Minister, there is clear guidance on their website

that places of worship will be required to end all acts of collective worship, except for funeral ceremonies.

In response a statement was issued by the President and Vice-President of the Bishops’ Conference.


Statement from Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales

Catholic churches that are safely able to do so can resume collective acts of worship, for example the celebration of Mass, whilst complying with the government’s social distancing requirements. In order to keep the spread of COVID-19 under control, the government has announced that face coverings have to be worn in places of worship enforceable in law from Saturday 8th August.

All those who are attending churches must wear a face covering unless they are exempt from doing so.

This is for the good of all who gather in the Church for Mass as it is an enclosed public space where there

are people from differing households who they do not normally meet.

 Priests in the sanctuary providing they are sufficiently distant (2m or more) from the congregation do not need to wear

a face covering except when distributing Holy Communion.

Other ministers on the sanctuary should wear face coverings and remain socially distant from the celebrant.


Cardinal’s statement on resumption of collective acts of worship

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, president of the Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales said:

"I welcome the statement by the Prime Minister earlier today, that places of worship are now able to resume

collective acts of worship from 4 July. This is welcome news for members of all religions in England.

I thank all who have worked hard to bring this about, not least my fellow religious leaders.

As Catholics we now look forward to being able to celebrate Mass together again from 4 July.

We have waited with patience and longing for this moment, understanding the importance of protecting the health of people in our society. Now we are full of anticipation that we will be able again to take part together in the Eucharist, which lies at the centre of our faith.

It is important that we continue to abide by the guidance, given by the Government, on appropriate social distancing and the other measures to avoid all unnecessary risk. Our own detailed guidance will be distributed around dioceses and parishes so everyone can be confident that they may come to Mass securely and understand the part they are to play in protecting

each other from any remaining risk of infection.

The past few months have been a time of fashioning new patterns of prayer, new ways of exploring and enriching our faith and vigorous ways of reaching out to those in need. We can build on these, forgetting nothing of the graces we have been given. Yet now, with the experience of opening our churches for individual prayer already gained, this return to the more normal patterns of worship will be of great importance to all Catholics.This time of our ‘Eucharistic fast’ has made our hearts grow in longing for that moment when we can come together and receive again the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist. That moment is now very near and for that we thank God."


Cardinal thanks Catholics for their patience as churches prepare to re-open on 15 June for private, individual prayer

Thorough preparation underway for the safe re-opening of churches on 15 June.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, has welcomed the decision that

Catholic churches, that can safely do so, will re-open for individual prayer on 15 June.

Cardinal Nichols hopes people will benefit from the ‘sacredness’ of our church spaces and describes it as a

“great blessing for individuals and for the benefit of all in society, that church doors will again be open to all who long to pray there

for the peace and grace we need today.”

Click on the link for Cardinal Vincent Nichols full address


Catholic Bishops respond to Government’s lockdown easing plans

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has responded to the government’s document released on, 11 May,

titled ‘Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy’.


The timing and the manner of the opening of churches touches profound sensitivities and spiritual needs.

The Government’s document and statements fail to recognise this.  The Government’s position, established today, includes these steps aimed at opening churches as soon as possible: the establishment of a task force for places of worship, to work closely with ‘stakeholders’ in ensuring that premises are COVID-19 secure; and heeding the experience of other countries in which churches are already open for worship. In dialogue with the Government, the Catholic Church will continue its engagement in this process and has already submitted a detailed plan, in full accordance with public health guidelines, for churches to be opened for private prayer. The Church is ready to play its full part in the task force, understanding that this includes the possible earlier use of churches for private prayer,

as a first safe step towards their use for public worship.


Cardinal: A big ‘thank-you’ to all those caring for others during the COVID-19 pandemic

Speaking ahead of a series of special Thursday evening Masses for the sick, their families, NHS staff, and those working in Social Care, Cardinal Vincent Nichols has expressed his “deep appreciation” for all those caring for others during the coronavirus pandemic.

Acknowledging the community solidarity behind the ‘Clap for our Carers’ initiative that has seen millions applauding NHS staff and

health workers from their doors and windows for the past four weeks, Cardinal Nichols said:

“Now what we want to do, is add to that public applause, the practice of public prayer. So every Thursday at 7 o’clock, a bishop will celebrate Mass in one of the cathedrals for the care workers. We will begin here in Westminster Cathedral.”

Encouraging Catholics to follow Mass and pray before the 8pm applause, Cardinal Nichols said:

“Use that time before 8 o’clock on a Thursday to offer your prayers of thanksgiving for these generous, courageous people, for their support – their encouragement – [and pray] that God will sustain them in this great work that they’re doing.

We applaud, but we pray and we pray fervently for them. May God bless them all.”

Click on the link for Cardinal Vincent Nichols full address


Full Closure of Catholic Churches

Following the Prime Minister’s historic announcement on 23rd March on strengthening restrictions in an attempt to combat

the spread of COVID-19, Catholic Churches are closed to the public at this time.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols stresses that we must all play our part to safeguard the NHS and to save ‘precious lives’.

“We’re going to play our full part in it. That was the call of St. Paul that we ought to be good citizens and today we ought to be good citizens playing our part in the protection of the vulnerable, in our support for the NHS and in the preserving of human life,

which is so precious to God in the face of this virus.”

Click on the link for Cardinal Vincent Nichols full address.

O Mary,

you always shine on our path

as a sign of salvation and of hope.

We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick,

who at the cross took part in Jesus’ pain, keeping your faith firm.

You, Salvation of the Roman People,

know what we need,

and we are sure you will provide

so that, as in Cana of Galilee,

we may return to joy and to feasting

after this time of trial.

Help us, Mother of Divine Love,

to conform to the will of the Father

and to do as we are told by Jesus,

who has taken upon himself our sufferings

and carried our sorrows

to lead us, through the cross,

to the joy of the resurrection.