Small Steps Back to Public Masses

Parishes of St Aidan’s, Benton and St Mary’s, Forest Hall - Covid Message 29/08/21 from Father Hall.

 As Christian Communities, we want to be responsive to the needs and wishes of our Parishioners as we learn to live with COVID.   The Government recently relaxed many of the COVID specific rules and things are starting to return to something closer to normal.   We wish to welcome as many people as possible to attend each service in church.  We do however still have a moral and legal duty of care to those who attend, and this is why we are taking cautious steps to remove some of the restrictions currently in place.

 We welcome all, including the most vulnerable to illness in our community, and we do not feel it is appropriate to simply remove all restrictions in one go. 

 So, from the first weekend in September, we are experimenting with the removal of restrictions as to the number of people who can attend Mass and the need to pre-book places. There are also no restrictions to numbers of people attending Baptisms, Weddings, and Funerals.  We will still limit to seated places only (i.e. no standing room) but we rarely ran out of seats when all benches were available.

 However, we must balance risk with this relaxation; to protect all who attend. So, we will continue to ask that ALL except for those with genuine medical exemptions wear a suitable face covering.  You must also continue to sanitise your hands as you enter the building and not gather in groups inside the church before or after a service. For Sunday Masses our Stewards will continue to assist you in finding seats and make the best and safe use of seating as well as sanitise the church after each Mass.

 In summary, the first tentative changes we are making are: the removal of the need to pre-book places at Mass and increasing the numbers that we can welcome.


Further careful relaxation of restrictions - St. Aidan's Benton - 5th September 2021.

We are pleased to be able to cautiously remove the requirement to pre-book places at Sunday Mass at St. Aidan's as of Sunday 5th of September.  We are taking this small move to allow more Parishioners and Visitors to attend.

Our first priority is your safety and that of all who visit us.  We are therefore NOT removing all restrictions.  

For this reason, at this time the following restrictions will remain in place:

  • You must not attend church if you are suffering from COVID symptoms or have been in close contact with anyone with symptoms in the last 14 days.
  • We request that everyone visiting our church continue to wear a suitable mask or face covering that fully covers both your mouth and your nose.  This applies to all who were not previously classed as exempt under Government Guidelines (i.e. the very young and the clinically exempt).
  • You will be asked to sanitise your hands as you enter the church.
  • Stewards will still be on duty to help as you arrive and to guide you to a suitable seat.  We ask that you co-operate with the Stewards as they try to maintain suitable social distancing.
  • Stewards will continue to guide people to Communion and indicate the order that people should leave after Mass.
  • Stewards will continue to complete a disinfection process after Mass.
  • Gathering in and around the church before and after Mass is to be avoided.

In summary  - at this point the only significant changes that are being made are:

  1. You no longer need to pre-book to attend Mass.
  2. More seats will be available. 

Please remember that many of our congregation are amongst the most vulnerable to COVID-19 and even when fully vaccinated are still at risk from this disease.  

Masses will still be streamed and can be accessed via the NE12 Catholic Facebook page.
To join this group please follow this link and request access.

If you have any questions about accessing these Masses please contact Father Sean directly or use the 'Contact Us' page of this website.

We all hope the situation improves very soon and we look forward to announcing the re-opening of our Church.

Keep Safe and God Bless.

Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle - Re-Opening Handbook for Churches

The Diocese has produced a detailed handbook to clarify steps and procedures that will be used to protect the health of worshipers, Priests and others as churches start to re-open.  Click on the image to the right or this link to see the full document.   resources/Coronavirus%20disease%20-%20Handbook%20for%20the%20re-opening%20of%20churches%20v2%20(1).pdf