Letter to parishoners from Father Uche

My dear Parishioners of St Joseph,

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to you all. It is very good news that the number of daily Covid infections is coming down. Of course, it is still high compared with numbers up to October last year.
Sadly, our parishioners are still contracting the virus, although we believe not from attending Mass at St Joseph’s. Some of them are very poorly in hospital. We keep them all in our thoughts and prayers. Some of our parishioners have died of the pandemic and we pray God to grant them
eternal rest.

It is my responsibility as pastor to keep all parishioners as safe from infection as possible, while still ministering to their spiritual needs in the most reverential manner as possible. This is by no means an easy task, especially with the Covid variants which we as we have seen are so much easier to catch.
Since last summer there has been a small team of people working every day behind the scenes (including Christmas) on the practical side of achieving a safe worshipping environment for all; and a large team of stewards to whom I am very grateful for making it possible for parishioners to
attend Mass in person, when legally permitted.
There have been many difficult and complicated decisions to take. Often, they have had to be made very fast, with the health and safety of parishioners being the first priority.

Recently we purchased enough face shields for stewards and Extra-Ordinary Ministers of the Eucharist to use – this is not compulsory but strongly recommended, as it provides an extra barrier
against infection.
For the health and safety of all parishioners, please do not come to the church if you are feeling unwell, are awaiting a test result or if you have been near someone who has tested positive. And remember always when coming to Church to wear your face mask completely covering your
mouth and nose. Each day, thanks to our technical team, we have at least one Mass livestreamed.
Each one of us has a part to play in keeping infections down, especially for the sake of those most vulnerable among us. I am doing everything within my power and by the grace of God to keep safe and free from Covid 19 so that I can continue to discharge my duties as your pastor.

We are extremely blessed to have Masses live-streamed and reaching so many of you every day.
We are still the same congregation of St Joseph’s, whether in the church or at home. Jesus is still present in the Blessed Sacrament in church and in our individual hearts. I am always saddenedeach time that I have to celebrate Mass alone in an empty church as was the case during Easter 2020. I hope and pray that by the grace of God, this will never happen again.

I am looking forward to welcoming you all back to our vibrant church once the lockdown is over. In the meantime, keep
safe and be assured of my prayers.

Fr Uche Njoku
Parish Priest

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