Fr David Bagstaff from Bury St Edmunds has spoken to BBC Radio Suffolk about the enthusiasm with which Catholics in Suffolk have returned to collective worship.
Fr David (pictured above), who is Vicar General of the Diocese and parish priest for St Edmunds in Bury St Edmunds, shared the good news with presenter Luke Deal.
“We have 19 parishes across Suffolk,” he said, “and all of these except for one are opening this weekend…Next week all our parishes will be up and running after 100 days.”
Fr David said that there was a lovely feeling at the first Mass at 6pm on Saturday. “At the beginning of the Mass I said: ‘Welcome back! Welcome home!’ and there was a big round of applause.”
St Edmunds is limited on numbers, and could accommodate up to 65 or 70 people. “We had 60,” said Fr David, “so there was a little leeway.”
Although St Edmunds has been doing live streaming, Fr David thought that there was “nothing better than face-to-face,” because for the Church community is so important.
“Obviously there was a bit of apprehension,” he said, “because we were operating on the one-metre social distancing, so we’re wearing face covering. But no-one seemed to mind about that.”
Fr David added that live streaming would continue, and that St Edmunds was installing a permanent system. He thought it was an enormous benefit, particularly for the housebound and those not feeling well.
Around 450 households have been following Mass online in Bury St Edmunds, including those using catch-up on Youtube. “When you think that many of those are couples and families, it’s not much less than a normal Sunday congregation, which is about 650.”
You can hear the full interview on www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p08hs5v7 Start listening at 54.40 mins.