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July 2021

I have been looking back over past editions of the Coronacle. This is the 22nd edition! In the 7th edition I wrote (just as we were preparing to return to public worship) that this wasn’t the end of restrictions but probably the beginning of the end. How wrong one can be! I never expected that we would still be living under restrictions 12 months later. The June date for the easing of restrictions has passed and (at the time of writing) I do not know what will happen when we reach the July date.

The feast of St James always makes me think of summer holidays. The great pilgrimage to the shrine of St James (Santiago Compostela) conjures up images of walking through Europe: food, travel, hospitality… in fact everything that will be nigh on impossible this year. But it is not simply the infringements on travel depriving me of the hot Mediterranean sun. The culmination of the

pilgrimage to Santiago is the Mass in the basilica - a large gathering of people to worship God. Now we are all aware that some large gatherings are allowed. The football tournament Euro2020 seems to have been made exempt from nearly every restriction. (As an aside, if this is Euro2020 does that mean I can take a year off my age?). The fact that you can sing in a football stadium as part of a crowd of thousands but are still not allowed to sing in church has made many people very angry. The more exceptions that are made for special events – football, Wimbledon, music festivals, etc – the harder it becomes to justify restrictions on weddings, funerals, and ordinary church services.

This virus is not going away. We will have to learn to live with the disease, in much the same way that we live with influenza, pneumonia, meningitis, and a whole host of other infectious diseases. With most of the congregation

vaccinated (doubly) it can only be a matter of time before singing is restored. We are planning a Songs of Praise – all your favourite hymns – for that day when we all can sing our Praises to God.

Fr Philip

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