Archbishop Leo Cushley is calling for Catholics in the Archdiocese to return to Mass and do all they can to keep Sundays holy.

In a pastoral letter sent to parishes for this weekend, he addresses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on worship and acknowledges the hard work of priests and volunteers.

He writes: "Extra Masses have been scheduled in many parishes, and they are regularly 'full' in accordance with the present two-metre, 50-person, social distancing rules. So, let me encourage you to go to Mass whenever you can, to seize the chance while our churches remain open, and to go to Holy Communion if you can."

On the subject of online Mass, he adds: "Nothing can substitute for our full and active participation in the Sunday Eucharist, and unless impeded, we will all of us have the right and the duty to gather for Mass when it is safe to do so. If nothing else is stopping you, take every opportunity to go to Mass. But if these circumstances persist for a time, be nimble and imaginative, and set aside time to attend Mass online."

The Archbishop emphasised that keeping the Sabbath holy "is something enshrined in the Ten Commandments," and writes: "This duty is a sacred one and so I encourage you to learn to spend time in silence, in reading the Scriptures, in prayer, especially as a family."

The Archbishop is also encouraging people to go to confession: "The time of lockdown has been one of great stress for many and perhaps also of great temptation. But the Lord is full of mercy: come and be reconciled, so that you can approach full communion with Him and with each other once more."

He finishes: "Let me finally thank the priests of the Archdiocese publicly and warmly for their perseverance and hard work in these months. They have been working diligently in these strange circumstances to do what they can, and to learn new skills to help keep parish life alive.

"I am confident you will want to support them, to pray for them and encourage them with your own goodness and example."

Read the Archbishop's pastoral letter here. Keep updated by visiting our coronavirus updates page. For national updates from the Bishops' Conference of Scotland click here.