Covid19; Parish News

06 November

Covid-19 Lockdown 2.0

The following is a copy of the letter being distributed by hand this weekend to many of our house-bound parishioners.  Fr Martin is keen that it is distributed as widely as possible; please copy it for any of your neighbours.

20160313_123435St Benet’s Presbytery.

2 Grange Road,   Beccles  NR34 9NR

Thursday 05 November                                                                             Tel  (01502) 713 179

In some quarters, bonfires and fireworks are still being prepared for this evening, but today’s date will also be remembered as the beginning of this year’s second ‘lockdown’ in England – confining us to our homes to a greater extent than usual, even at this time of the  year, and making life quieter than normal for many of us.

The attached Newsletter is being sent out, rather late I’m afraid, to accompany this letter, because the Masses advertised will still be celebrated in private, encouraging us to keep up our prayers as much as (or even more than) usual.  And all people of faith, whatever their religious denomination, are encouraged to pray together from home at 6 pm, day by day, for a healing cure to the world’s ills, that our communities may be ‘sources of solace and help’ – as the Bishops of England & Wales have put it, in a letter sent out today. (Please click on this link to read it. Editor)

This lockdown differs from the one that began in March of this year: churches may be opened for individual prayer as well as for the maintenance of Food Banks and other charitable purposes.  St Benet’s will be opened for half-an-hour at the end of every Mass (exact times are detailed below) and it is hoped that this will stimulate the life of our community.  During the second half of this month, jars for our Advent-and-Christmas Appeal for Mary’s Meals will be available in church, and items for the Food Bank Christmas Hampers can be left in the church porch which will be open at the times advertised.  They can also be left in the black box outside the front door of the Presbytery (address as above).

remembrance-day-11300115265SYmDuring November, we remember those who have died whether in war or peace; and this year there is a Tree of Memory, together with a Poppy Display, on the sanctuary behind the altar in St Benet’s: you are welcome to pay a visit when the church is open, to enter the sanctuary and to pray for those whose names have already been inscribed, to add your own (or ask me to do so – cards, photos and small items are being pinned to or hung from the displays: if you would like me to contribute on your behalf, just ring the above number or send a note to the Presbytery address).

The church will be open for individual prayer between 10.30 and 11.30 am on Wednesday 11th November and the special Mass for those who have died will be (in private) at 7 pm on the evening of Wednesday 18th November at 7 pm.

Regular opening times are after Mass, five days out of seven, will be as follows:

Sunday                                              11.00 – 11.30 am

Monday                                            09.45 – 10.15 am

Thursday & Friday                       09.45 – 10.15 am

Saturday                                           10.00 – 10.30 am


Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Gillingham, will be open every Wednesday afternoon between 2.00 and 3.00 pm.

Later in the month, a special day of prayer has been announced for the Vigil of Christ the King (Saturday 21st November).  The following week, the schoolchildren will be preparing Advent / Christmas decorations for display in the church, and we sincerely hope that the present restrictions may be relaxed at the end of the four-week period (December 2nd).

Meanwhile let’s continue to support one another, keeping safe and sound with the message of the Gospel in our hearts.

Martin Gowman

Parish Priest; St Benet’s Church; Beccles

25 September


QR Code for St Benet’s Minster

In order to keep up with the times, and Government requirements, we have set up the NHS Test and Trace QR code.

To use it, you do need a fairly recent “Smart Phone”.  If you have a Smart phone, please proceed as follows

Download the NHS COVID-19 app (free) from the App store or Google Play – this went live on 24th September 2020.

  • When you visit any venue, check to see if there is an NHS Covid-19 poster on display.
  • Open the NHS Covid-19 app on your phone and tap ‘venue check in’
  • Now use your smart phone camera to scan the QR code on the poster.
  • The time and date of your visit will be stored on the app.  It will not be shared with anyone else.
  • After scanning the QR code on the poster you are successfully checked in.
  • You can use this any time you enter a venue operating track and trace using this system.
  • You may receive an ALERT if NHS contact tracers identify that you have recently visited a venue where you may have come into contact with Covid19.
  • If you develop symptoms, make sure you record them in the NHS Covid-19 app and follow government guidelines.

For those of you who currently do not have a smart phone, we will continue to keep a paper list at the back of the church.

Keep Safe! 

Fr. Martin Gowman         25 Sept 2020

PS – To re-assure you –

Full details of the operation of the  App – and the Privacy Policy – are available at this part of the official website.  Click to go to it: –

Information for organisations – NHS COVID-19 app support – NHS.UK

17 August


 (w.e.f. Sun. 23 August)

In future, Communion will be distributed in your pew, in the “normal” place within Mass.

Remain seated until the Minister comes to your row.


  • If you wish to receive communion, stand up in front of your chair.
  • The Minister will walk in front of your kneeler/spacer chair, (wearing mask & visor).
  • Keep face mask in position; extend arms fully, palms up, to ensure maximum distancing.
  • Receive Host in hand, wait until Minister has moved to next person.
  • Sit; move mask aside; place Host in mouth; replace mask.
  • If desired, kneel for prayer, once Minister has moved from your row


You may cross your arms to receive a silent blessing

Guidelines For Mass During Covid Crisis

Revised 17 August (See item 3 below)

  • Seating will be limited to a max of 60; if families are seated together this may be higher. St Anthony’s and Our Lady’s Chapel may be used by Stewards.
  • One-way system. Entry by porch. Hand Sanitise. Down centre aisle, Fill seats from front to back of church.
  • Communion in Pews, during Mass; see separate page for details.
  • After Mass leave by “Pulpit” door. Sanitise hands. Disperse quickly!
  • Stewards will direct you to and from your seats, as necessary.
  • Please remain seated until directed to move.
  • Stewards will man the sanitiser stations at entrance and exit.
  • Collection plates are at the entrance and exit. See website for preferred methods of donating.
  • It will be a Shorter Mass with a Shorter Homily.
  • There will be No Singing; No Prayer of the Faithful; No Sign of Peace.
  • Any Newsletters, or other documents used, MUST be taken home with you.
  • Wearing of face coverings is compulsory.
  • Stewards and Clergy will wear face covering and visor as appropriate.
  • For “Test & Trace”, we need to record who is present.  From Parish Census and other records, we have a basic list of Parishioners. All we need to do is “tick you off” and confirm your Contact Details.
  • For visitors, we require name and contact details (telephone or email)
  • These “attendance records” will be kept securely and destroyed after 3 weeks

  Fr Martin Gowman; Parish Priest; St Benet’s Beccles. 07 July 

Keeping in Contact

You may not be able to pick up a copy of the weekly paper newsletter but the latest information is regularly posted here on the parish website.

We are sending a weekly  “E-Bulletin” to each home over the coming weeks.  If you don’t see one, please check your “SPAM” folder. and then make us a “Safe Sender”.

At this time it is particularly important to stay in contact with each other – so if you haven’t done so already, please give us your email address.

Just drop an email to our webmaster,Terry, at .  If nothing is found, please let Terry know.

COVID-19/Coronavirus -Local Help & Support

We are conscious that as a result of the measures to contain the spread of the Coronavirus, some individuals, couples or families may

  • be burdened by fears about jobs, finance or the wellbeing of loved ones;
  • experience a sense of isolation in the coming weeks;
  • need practical help;
  • welcome spiritual support.

Do you need a Helping Hand?

RescueAs a community, the clergy and parishioners of St Benet’s are committed to helping others less fortunate than themselves

Between us, Father Martin, our Deacons Tony and Mike and a number of parish volunteers have a wide range of skills and experiences which could be of assistance.

It could be a matter of:

  • providing an ear to listen to your concerns – in person or by phone;
  • some practical help – perhaps with shopping, mail or prescriptions;
  • arranging an interview with an appropriate professional;
  • making contact with a distant relative;
  • assistance with a pet animal;
  • or anything else that is important to you.

How to Contact our Volunteer Helpers

If you feel the need for ANY form of help or advice, please do call and askMessage Box 2 one of the following:

Aloma & Tony Pampackal 07391 865733;

Brigid Rawlinson 01502 677557 or 07818 021676;

Mary Ellwood 01502 716960;

Tim & Toni Harrison 01502 711605;

Joshua Do Rozario (07404 566051

You can also use the “Request Assistance” form posted on this part of the website  and/or

  • call our Co-ordinator, Terry O’Brien on 07504 – 962 368
  • email
  • post it to St Benet’s, 2 Grange Road, BECCLES. NR34 9NR

and we will put you in touch with one of our volunteers

Can You Help?Rescue 3

If you are able to provide help with any of the above examples e.g. be a “phone buddy”; go shopping; collect medication; dog walking, please use the “Offer of Help” form and contact us as listed above.

We will then match you up with a person with appropriate needs.