Wales will enter a two-week ‘firebreak’ COVID lockdown from 23 October to relieve pressure on the health service and slow the spread of the virus in the country. Church doors will close for public worship until 9 November.
Whilst praying that the ‘firebreak’ will reduce the level and speed of infections, the Archbishop of Cardiff, the Most Reverend George Stack, has expressed his disappointment:
“I am naturally disappointed at the forthcoming ‘firebreak’ measures which, once again, will see our churches closed for public worship.
“Since their re-opening at the end of the first lockdown, our churches have been places of safety and security as well as tranquillity and peace, so much needed in these turmoil ridden days. They have been exemplary in conforming to Social Distancing measures, Health and Safety requirements and Track and Tracing procedures. We are grateful to the teams of volunteers which have made this possible.
“Notwithstanding the impact of the Live Streaming of Mass and other services in recent months, gathering to celebrate Mass and worshipping God as a community of faith lies at the heart of our religious life.
“Ours is an incarnational religion. The ‘Eucharistic Famine’ of the recent months of lockdown has been painful to us in so many ways – known and unknown. Churches are not just places in which we worship God but with which we worship God.
“We continue to dialogue with Welsh Government through the ‘Task and Finish Group’ in the hope that churches may remain open for private prayer at specified times over the next two weeks.
“Part of that prayer will surely be that the ‘firebreak’ measures will achieve their purpose of reducing the level and speed of infections caused by the coronavirus pandemic and restore the nation to health.”