No singing in the mean time, Catholic church buildings mentioned

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Vincent NicholsReuters

Catholic leaders have written to the churches to let them know that singing is out of the question as they prepare to reopen after months of closure.

Churches across the country are preparing to resume public worship as of July 4 as the government continues to relax restrictions.

In a message to parishes in England, Cardinal Vincent Nichols and other Catholic leaders warned that the end of the ban would not mean a return to normal business.

"With the easing of restrictions on church worship, we are carefully walking the path ahead," they said.

"Our life has changed through the experience of the pandemic, and it is clear that we cannot simply go back to what was before the closure.

"We continue to focus on the Lord Jesus and his command at the last sacrament to do this in memory of me."

"We must now rebuild what it means to be Eucharistic communities, hold on to everything we care about, and at the same time explore creative ways to deal with changing circumstances."

Churches that have already opened for private prayer maintain social distance and regular cleaning to minimize the risk of transmission.

"We continue to work to ensure that these hygiene and infection control systems meet government and public health standards," they said.

Despite the reopening of the churches, the letter states that the obligation to participate in Sunday mass is "suspended".

It added that a "significant" number of churches have not yet reopened because they cannot meet all of the requirements.

There are other restrictions as well, as the mass must be shorter than before the ban and without church chant.

There is also a limit on the number of people who can attend the fair, "which must be determined locally in accordance with the requirements of social distancing," while the communities are encouraged to provide live streaming services to those still in need of protection to continue.

"We therefore need to think carefully about how and when we may be able to attend Mass," said the Church leaders.

"We cannot immediately return to our usual practices. This next step is in no way a moment in which we will return to normal."

In addition to Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, Malcolm McMahon, Archbishop of Liverpool, Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham, and John Wilson, Archbishop of Southwark.

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