The national Covid-19 Working Group, tasked with creating protocols to govern the phased reopening of Catholic Churches in Scotland, meets today (Wednesday 27 May).
It is expected to present its procedures to the Bishops' Conference of Scotland (BCOS) for approval next week.
The reopening of churches for private prayer is given the go-ahead in Phase Two of the Scottish Governments four-phase 'routemap' out of lockdown, though this is subject to the trajectory of the spread of the coronavirus.
No date has been announced for Phase 2, though the Scottish Government is expected to announce the start of Phase One this Thursday (28 May), the first stage in relaxing lockdown restrictions.
The Archbishop has put together a group to advise on how we support our parishes ahead of re-opening in light of directives that will come from BCOS.
Scottish Government phases covering gatherings and occasions
Phase 1: No public gatherings except for meetings of two households, outdoors and with physical distancing.
Phase 2: Places of worship open for private prayer under physical distancing rules and hygiene safeguards. Marriages and other types of ceremonies to take place with minimal number of attendees.
Phase 3: Places of worship open to extended groups subject to physical distancing/hygiene safeguards. Relaxation of restrictions to attend funerals and marriages beyond close family.
Phase 4: Mass gatherings resume in line with public health advice. All ceremonies can take place, with improved hygiene and other precautions.
The Bishops' Conference of Scotland (BCOS) has set up a group for phased reopening of our churches. This Covid-19 Working Group is split into two parts - a team working on infection control protocols, and another working on guidance for celebrating the liturgy.
Preparing now: We are busy preparing support for our parishes ahead of restrictions being lifted.
Informed Clergy: Archbishop Cushley is keeping our priests updated with guidance from BCOS ahead of Phase 2.
Encouraging volunteers: Your parish priest will need volunteers to assist when churches reopen. Please support him!