An update from Fr Ashley

I think many of you are aware that having returned from the conference in Rome about which I posted details a few weeks ago I tested positive for Covid last Thursday and I am still testing positive and am isolating. Most of your clergy in this parish have had the virus; I am also aware that many of you now have it and I hope very much that, like me, your symptoms are relatively mild. The Church, in contrast to many other institutions in society, has been very cautious about lifting Covid restrictions in relation to the celebration of Mass – so we still don’t exchange the sign of peace or enable most people to receive Holy Communion from the chalice. The rise in infections, and the many dangers to public health resulting from this detailed in this article, suggest that caution is still advisable.

Tomorrow is a Holy Day of Obligation (the first since the obligation was restored at Pentecost), and because I am unavailable we are getting some help in the celebration of Masses, and the Mass which would have happened in St Mary’s school has been cancelled.

It remains as important as it always has been to make sure that we look at the continuing reality of the Covid pandemic through the eyes of faith. This is true in two respects particularly: first, we need to hold political leaders to account in relation to truth-telling (especially as there has still not been a proper enquiry into the handling of the beginnings of the crisis in 2020), and this article shows how much lack of transparency there still is. It is always so much easier for politicians to be war-mongering.

Secondly, Christians should always insist, in terms of health care resource allocation, that the most vulnerable and the poorest are prioritised – and official indifference to the rise in Covid infections suggests that those who still suffer most from this rise are still being neglected.

Please pray for those who are suffering serious effects as a result of Covid and those who work in the National Health Service. I hope to see you soon when I test negative

God bless

Father Ashley

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