From Saturday 31 October, Oxford city moves into Tier 2/high level local coronavirus restrictions. This change covers half our parish: Our Lady of the Rosary remains outside these limits.

Can I still come to Mass?


What changes for us in church?

Short answer? Nothing. We carry on doing exactly what we have been doing – and we have been doing it well! Everything remains exactly as it has been, which means that for us there is absolutely no difference between what we can do at Our Lady of the Rosary and what we can do at Holy Rood, even though they are following different restriction levels.

Does anything change?

The changes in restrictions should make us more aware of the care we have already been taking. They may make you reflect on whether going out and about in general is something you want to do, but if you are going to go out, there is no reason why the Mass should not be one of your destinations (and lots of reasons why it should).

What about future changes?

Short answer: nobody knows (or if they do, they’re not telling). There is rumbling in the press that a lockdown for England may be coming, but no sense of its severity or anything like that. We just have to wait and see: we don’t know anything before anyone else does.

Anything else?

“Places of worship” can stay open in all three of the local restriction levels with, as far as I can tell, no difference in what we may do. Churches are not significant factors in transmission of the virus, as far as the evidence suggests. The only way to be completely safe from either catching it or passing it on is not to leave the house. No place where people gather can be 100% safe and secure, but we can all do lots of things to reduce our risk and the risk of those around us. When all those little measures are taken together, they add up to a lot.

Lastly: keep praying. Pray for those who are sick and dying, and for those who mourn. Pray for those who are looking after them. Pray for the frustrated, the selfish, the ignorant, the arrogant, the fearful, the apathetic, the overzealous. Pray for administrators and bureaucrats. Pray for government, local authorities, emergency services. Pray for the souls of the faithful departed. Pray for yourselves. Pray for one another.