A Letter to Our Parish Community
St. Joseph’s OMI Catholic Church
63, Conway Road,
30th April 2020
Parish Activities, Parish Needs, Report and Appeal.
I am taking the liberty, in these extraordinary times, of writing to every parishioner whose address we have on file to bring you up to date with our current situation. Under normal circumstances I would be reporting to our Parish Council, our Parish Finance Committee, to our Liturgy Group and many other teams and parishioners who make up our active, supportive and cherished parish family.
Coronavirus The virus is highly contagious and dangerous. The evidence is that the virus is widespread in our own community, and the policy of isolating is correct and needs to be made watertight. As a parish, and as individuals, we need to avoid taking risks both now and in the future. One parishioner has died of the disease. Please keep all who have died from the virus and their family in your prayers. (Shall not be named) I expect when we reopen there will be changes designed to keep everyone safe, and I beg your indulgence.
Award. The Colwyn Bay Town Council has awarded £500 towards the costs of operating our volunteer hub. St. Joseph’s Community Connect was established in the face of this pandemic. We are helping the housebound by collecting their medication, delivering shopping and organising their food. These are just some of the ways we help. Thanks to all participants. Visit our Saint Joseph’s Community Connect Facebook page, phone us at: 01492 533652 between 9am – 7pm or leave a message and we will get back to you. We are here to support. All calls and help are in confidence.
Church Closed. In accordance with Government and Diocesan instructions our church building closed on March 23rd. All religious services have been cancelled or postponed. That includes Weddings, and Baptisms… spare a prayer for those left disappointed. Six funerals have been conducted at the graveside or in the crematorium, with a promise that a memorial service can take place later. Arranging such services has been very challenging. Fr. Vimal OMI, being younger, presided over them.
*During the period when places of worship are closed, here in St. Joseph’s, Fr Vimal OMI and I will celebrate:
Holy Mass (daily) from Monday to Friday at 11.00 a.m.
Holy Mass (Sunday) at 11.00 a.m.
Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament Saturday at 11.00 a.m.
Rosary: Tuesday at 7.30 p.m. We pray the Rosary via Zoom, an online conference platform. If you wish to join us for the Rosary please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org for the link to access Zoom. This link will be e-mailed to you.
Rosary *Saturday at 6.00 p.m.
Please join us for the above celebrations which will be live streamed on our Facebook page and subsequently on our website and YouTube channel.
Community Centre. The Community Centre has been closed because the tiles on the roof have become unstable. We have secured a loan from the Oblate Provincial Council of £130,000 to repair the roof and carry out other repairs on the ground floor. Because of the unstable tiles, the school yard adjacent to the Centre has been closed.
Insurance. Renewal of our insurance cover fell due on 25th March 2020 and cost £9570.26
Insurance Claim. As a result of the Storm in February the Church roof sustained very limited damage and we are looking at the possibility of making an insurance claim.
Fr. Vimal OMI. Fr. Vimal has been a godsend, arriving just before lockdown. He has been very busy streaming religious services into the care homes and worldwide. We are settling down into live streaming either the Mass, or the Rosary, or Benediction nearly every day. Responding to our present new needs is a challenge for us and while we are only in the developmental stage we are making very good progress. So far one nursing home has made the Mass available to a resident. One of our masses had 695 people tuned in to the celebration!
Parish Assembly. It may seem a long time since the assembly took place. We need to follow through on the deliberations that were made at that time. Of prime importance is the renewal of the Parish Council and the various sub-groups. We were not able to hold elections as planned and that also means those who wished to retire having served their period in office have not been able to do so. We shall proceed as soon as possible. I wish to thank them for their continued commitment.
Is Your will in place? The virus is not like other illnesses, when it strikes you have very little time to put your affairs in order. Now is the time to attend to such matters ….. it is not a good idea to leave a mess behind! The fabric of our church represents the spiritual values and aspirations of our forebears, and we are charged with preserving, enhancing, and transmitting those values faithfully into succeeding generations. We do not want to be the generation that failed to appreciate that challenge. If you can, please remember in your Will the on-going needs of this faith community and allow your memory and resources to blossom in years to come.
St. Joseph’s School. During lockdown the school has been operating on a limited basis for students with special needs. Thank you to the leadership and staff of the school.
SVP While the SVP Meetings in Presbytery and the SVP Cafe have ceased for the duration of this pandemic, the SVP, St. Joseph’s Community Connect and Mia’s Wish/Chicago 1935 had reserved some food for emergencies but now it has all been distributed. There is not a tin of soup left! Donations would be appreciated. There is a box at the Presbytery door on Conway Road, Colwyn Bay. Please donate any food items that you can. This food will be going to the Mia’s Wish/Chicago 1935 project which delivers groceries to those who are vulnerable and having to self isolate and people in need.
Cytûn Our relationship with Cytûn (Churches together) continues in a positive way and Fr. Vimal has been attending meetings.
Youth organisations. It has not been possible for our youth sections to meet. Thank you for being on standby for when restrictions are lifted.
Sacramental Preparations. Our First Holy Communion and Confirmation Programmes are on hold and will resume when lockdown has been eased.
Marriage & Baptism. Marriages (3) deferred until next year. Baptisms deferred until regulations relaxed.
No Summer Fair. Due to lockdown regulations the Summer Fair has been cancelled.
Summer Outing. Due to uncertainties around travel John Williams will not be organising the Summer outing this year.
The SVP Cafe is Suspended. The SVP Cafe and Chat who meet every other Wednesday afternoon has been suspended till further notice due to Government regulations.
Prego The Prego prayer meetings, usually held in St. Augustines have been suspended.
The God Who Speaks. Scripture study meetings have been suspended.
Lectio Divina. Continues ‘on line’. They meet on Sundays at 4 p.m. Anyone wishing to participate should contact Sue on 01492 532924
RCIA Meetings. Deferred
Life will never be the same! Many international and major businesses are needing Government bailouts to survive. Our presence is totally dependent on the faith and generosity of our parishioners. I want to thank you for making St. Joseph’s such a vibrant witness to the faith here in North Wales. I would like to acknowledge and thank all those who continue to contribute to the Gift Aid programme. The lockdown has come at a bad time in that many of our parishioners / friends did not have the opportunity to pick up their yearly envelope donation boxes. We desperately need all the contributions we can get, hence I am sending out this letter to stimulate your generosity and hope this national crisis does not impact on our ability to be witnesses to the Gospel values. So, I am sending out those boxes that have not been collected along with this letter. Please consider putting some contribution into your envelopes, each week. If any UK taxpayer would like to Gift Aid, there is a form available on the Parish website, or I would be happy to send one on request. If you would like to make a new donation by bank transfer, here are the parish account details: Wrexham Diocesan Trust Reg. Charity No. 700426 – Colwyn Bay Catholic Church Sort Code- 558142. Account No. 08142637. Standing order forms are also available on our website, or by request, for regular donations. Our costs continue unabated: it is only with your help that we can remain viable.
Gift Aid donors will receive their annual letter confirming their donation amount once we are able to resume normal accounting.
Thank you for your continued support in all kinds of ways. Your comments are always appreciated, and if there is anything being overlooked or neglected please let us know.
At this time we are all called upon to be good team players and that means staying safe. The threat to our community will not cease when restrictions are eased. We will need to develop strategies that will keep us all safe when regulations are relaxed.
As a faith community we hold each other tenderly in the Lord’s embrace, in much the same way as they did in the early church. Fr. Vimal and myself continue in your service and are available whenever you wish to wish to contact us.
You can keep up to date by visiting our website and our Facebook page.
Let us together hold each other in thought and prayer.
With our blessing and best wishes,
Frank Ryan OMI