Dear All,

Quite a bit to report today.
1.    PUBLIC MASS. Teams have been hard at work preparing the two Churches for public Mass. Not so much needed to be done at Our Lady and St. Kenelm at Stow, which has been open for Private Prayer at set times, but Our Lady, Help of Christians had to be fully cleaned and re-set for 2m social distancing. Thank you so much to all who have helped.
TIMES OF MASS.    I will keep the usual Mass times, both in the week and at week-ends. So the Vigil Mass tomorrow, at 6 pm at Bourton, goes ahead as does the 9 am Mass at Stow on Sunday.
NUMBERS ATTENDING.    Last week I asked for feedback on numbers: who planned to attend Bourton, who planned to come to Stow, who planned not to come at the week-end but to a weekday Mass (no Sunday obligation at the moment; it is a weekly obligation), and who planned to continue to watch Mass on line. Some of you replied, which was a great help, as we do need to have a rough idea because Bourton only takes 26 people social distanced, and Stow 33. Nobody will be turned away, but if numbers balloon beyond capacity, some will have to be in the garden! (I may have to put on an extra Mass is this is a persistent problem). If you have not yet told me your plans, I would still like to hear (by email) so that I can keep ahead.
STEWARDS and HYGIENE.    There will be three stewards on duty at week-end Masses to manage seating and hygiene. People will be asked to sanitise their hands on entry and exit from Church. There will be ample supplies of sanitiser. The Church surfaces will be cleaned after Mass. 
HOLY COMMUNION. There are certain changes to the norm. After the priest holds the Host and the Chalice up saying ‘Behold the Lamb of God…’  he then elevates the Host again and says: ‘The Body of Christ’. The people reply ‘Amen’. The priest then elevates the Chalice saying ‘The Blood of Christ’. The people again reply ‘Amen’.  
After the priest has received his own Communion, he sanitises his hands, communicates the server, and then the people, who will be brought forward row by row, go out of the Sanctuary door of each church and then re-enter by the main door. So on way traffic. Communion is administered standing, in one kind, and the priest remains silent as he gives the Host.
The Conference of Bishops has provided two options for communicating the Faithful but Bishop Declan instructs us not to use one of these.
AFTER MASS. The priest can greet his people at the door, but having removed his vestments. It will be best if most people exit via the Sanctuary door of both churches. No coffee social.
MUSIC AND HYMNS. We can have music but no hymns at present. The music should not lengthen the Mass, but be used as we assemble and depart, and during the Offertory. The homily is to be short (!) and there are to be no Bidding Prayers. There are no instructions about use of incense but in the spirit of keeping Mass short, I will reluctantly not ‘light up’ pro tem. 
FOLLOWING THE MASS. No printed material for re-use is allowed. I am allowed to print a one off service sheet which you must take away, but I am not going to because this creates unnecessary extra work, too much waste of paper and there are other more efficient ways for you to follow the Mass. These are:
  • Bring your own missal and take it home.
  • Go to our website and go to the page ‘Today’s Readings’. You can print them off. 
  • Subscribe to MAGNIFICAT (£45/year for 13 editions) which provides superb value, giving not only every Mass including every weekday, but also a wealth of prayers and interesting articles. Call 0207 448 3607 or go online
  • Subscribe to Universalis ( and download their material onto your iphone, tablet or computer. This includes not just Mass, a commentary on the Mass readings, ‘About Today’ (the saint, etc), but also the full breviary. £2.99/month and on your iphone it includes a spoken version of the daily offices – brilliant if you are driving.
  • Or, free, use the QR code which Universalis provide. I will exhibit this at the door of each church, so you can take a photo on your phone, and then you will find it automatically gives you the Mass of the day.  See if this works for you now:
 Sample QR code
Take a photo of this QR code. As you take the photo a little message will appear asking whether you want to open up Universalis in Safari. Tap it and you will have access to everything: go for Mass Today, which includes the entire Mass. No need to print it off but you could if you wanted to. Simply follow the Mass on your iphone.
NB: LAVATORIES at Church. Are to be kept closed at the moment. Be prepared!
2.    MASS STREAMING. There is still a strong demand for this from people who do not yet wish to leave home. As from this Sunday we will stream Mass LIVE on Youtube, not recorded. There may be blips as we do it for the first time, so if it doesn’t work on Sunday, too bad, but I earnestly hope that it will. Thank you Victoria Butterworth for your help on this.  
3.    WEEKLY NEWS COMMUNICATION.  Some of you who get this email are not parishioners. We have a circulation list of well over 100 and some of you may wish to come off the list. Just email me and I will remove you. (No one will take the huff! I am permanently ‘unsubscribing’ to stuff, but I don’t have a means of you deleting yourself from your end).
NEWSHEET. In the days before lock down I produced a columnised Sheet with quite a bit on it. I am not yet going back to that until (and If) we go back to using the Redemptorist Sunday Mass sheet on the back of which I printed our newsheet. So I think I am going to go back to using the ‘From the Priest page’ on our website ( for the previous Sunday’s homily, and put this less stylised form of news on the Newsheet page of our site.
4.    ROTAS. Please could those who organised the Flower, Cleaning and Reading rotas for the Churches get back into action. For the moment, I will do the sacristan duties myself.  
5.    SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION. Is available again keeping obvious social distance rules. 
You can do this in several ways:
  • By a simple click, using the button at the bottom of our Home page on our website. This allows you to pay by Paypal or credit card, and you have the option to make a regular standing order.
  • Or pay online by BACS: Sort Code 52-10-03     Account number 66287162. Please email Veronica if you take this route:  
  • By putting cash or cheques into the basket that will be left at the Entry door of each Church. (Cheques should be made out to Clifton Diocese re Parish of Our Lady and St. Kenelm, Stow-on-the-Wold.
  • Or put cash or cheques into the circular money safe at Stow, which will now be regularly emptied.
I am sure that those who pay by Standing Order have continued to do so but plate collections still provide more than a 1/3rd of our Offertory income – add flower and votive candle money and we would be down by around £16,000 on an annual basis so £4-5K over the last three months.
7.  PRESBYTERY WORK. The asbestos on site has been removed so building work starts this coming Monday, to convert the house into family accommodation for letting. The project will be managed by Lindsey McCullum, the diocesan surveyor who has helped us so much with various works both great and small.
8. FINAL REMARKS. It will be lovely to be together again. Today was the 92nd time that I had said Mass on my own, so it will be a shock to hear voices again!
Best wishes,
Fr. Stephen. Friday 3rd July.

Dear All,

For the latest on Churches being open for public worship see the page on this website FROM THE PRIEST. What follows below may be useful:

Universalis, who provide the Mass Readings and all the Breviary offices so that we can access them on our tablets, iphones, computers etc. have been in touch with all their subscribers to say that all these texts are now available via QR codes.
The importance of this is that when public Masses are allowed again, those with iphones/tablets/computers can access the texts of the day simply by taking a photograph of the QR code.  You could print them off at home but there is no need to. You can look at your tablet/iphone during Mass to follow the readings.  This is a real bonus for both priests and congregation because shared missals will not be allowed. I can print service sheets for everyone on a one off basis; you take them home and chuck them when used, but this is very expensive in paper, printing and also time consuming. Much better if all with the technology use the QR code. (Of course, you can still use your own private missal). Magnificat remains another excellent source for all Masses. I think that quite a few people are subscribing direct for this publication as I cannot have copies sold at the back of the Church under the current rules.
Here is an example. Today is the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.  This is the QR Code for the ‘About today’ page in Universalis. Take a picture with your iphone, and it will open up the page on your device.
Scan me!

Meanwhile Our Lady and St. Kenelm’s Church at Stow will be open for Prayer and Exposition this Sunday from 5-7 pm and also next Wednesday at the same time.

Fr. Stephen 26th June.