Following the request from the Public Health Authorities, the Bishop has decreed that all Masses and public liturgies are suspended from Tuesday 22nd December until the 11th January, when the situation will be reviewed.
It is a sad, but necessary step, in the light of the recent exponential increase in Covid cases in Gibraltar.
Many will be disappointed that there will be no Midnight and Christmas Masses this year, but the Bishop is grateful for the cooperation of all.
Let us remain united in prayer this Christmas, as we look forward to better times in 2021.
Our Lady of Europe and St. Bernard, Patrons of Gibraltar, pray for us.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As all are aware, we are at present living and experiencing an unprecedented and extraordinary existential situation, something that nobody ever dreamt we would experience. Due to the lockdown, churches have been closed and the liturgical services that used to bring us together to celebrate and nourish our faith has been also somewhat suspended or very limited in the number of those who could take part in them. The elderly and those who are medically more at risk and vulnerable have been isolating themselves, thus somehow depriving themselves of the presence of their closeness to family members. Social distancing also has to be kept in order to avoid being infected by the coronavirus.
I would like to take this opportunity first of all to express a word of encouragement, especially to the elderly and those who are medically more at risk and vulnerable, who, for their own well-being, are obliged to stay at home. We should do our best not to forget them and to keep in touch with them. Fortunately, the means of communication that are at our disposal make it possible and quite easy to keep in touch with out dear ones. I would also like to show my appreciation for their generosity and sense of sacrifice in following the advice of the Health Authorities. It is our duty not to forget them and to keep in touch with them regularly.
The Health Authorities are informing us daily on how the situation is developing, and thank God we are getting encouraging news, although we are warned not to relax in our observance of the directives issued by them. We have to cooperate with the Authorities if we are to promote the health of others and safeguard our own.
I would like also to ask the Catholic faithful, who have been deprived of meeting together in our Churches or religious places of worship, to pray that it will not be long before the time arrives when we will be able to meet together as a community of believers. What makes the Church alive and really present in our lives is the ability to listen to the Word of God, to celebrate the Eucharist, and to receive the Sacraments. Let us also pray that we may soon be able to hold funerals in the traditional manner so dear to us, when we take our beloved departed to Church to give them there a dignified last farewell in the way that we are accustomed to do. It is a situation that saddens me to think that when we are celebrating a funeral, we have to do so with the bare essentials, with a very limited number of people attending and away from a church either at the Cemetery or Crematorium. It is so sad that we are deprived of showing our appreciation to our departed friends and family members.
May I also show my sincere appreciation towards those who, at great personal sacrifice, are helping those who are in need. They are the heroes and heroines of the situation in which we are living, and they deserve all our gratitude and respect.
We all are aware that life after this period of lockdown will not be the same as it was before. Many uncertainties and financial difficulties will have to be faced. We will need to adjust to a new and very different kind of life from the one we are used to. This tempest we are facing is teaching us to give more attention to what is really important and essential in life; and to learn to do without what is peripheral.
As soon as the civil authorities start relaxing the conditions of the lockdown, in accordance with their regulations and respecting social distancing, it is my hope that we will start celebrating again the Eucharist in public, even if in limited numbers and that the churches may open again for private prayer. When the right conditions permit, the Chrism Mass, which was not celebrated in Holy Week as usual, will be also celebrated, to thank God for being our rock and our help in our time of need.
We will shortly be starting the month of May, a month dedicated in a special way to Our Lady. Pope Francis in a letter to all the faithful has urged us to pray the rosary every day during May. The Rosary is a powerful prayer especially in times of necessity and danger. For the last five hundred years the Rosary has always been the special prayer to honour Our Lady and to seek her intercession. Praying the rosary as a family is recommended, but if this is not possible individual recitation of the Rosary is encouraged.
May Our Lady of Europe, who by her intercession is our protection in times of need, continue to look after us and support us. May St. Bernard, Patron of Gibraltar intercede for us too.
With an assurance of my prayers,
Bishop of Gibraltar
A donation from the St. Francis Clinic of £20,000.00 has been made to the Government of Gibraltar as a contribution towards the efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic in our community.
The St. Francis Clinic is a Catholic charitable institution created on the 11th September 1972, under the umbrella of the Catholic Church in Gibraltar. The Charity, whose Chairman is always the Bishop of Gibraltar, was set up specifically for the care for the sick and the poor in Gibraltar and has been very active since then.
The Charity wholeheartedly agreed to effect this donation in view of the tremendous expense being incurred by the GHA and the Government, as a consequence of the catastrophic, world-wide, pandemic that we are all going through.
The Bishop and the Trustees of the St. Francis Clinic wish to take this opportunity in thanking and congratulating our Chief Minister, the Government Ministers, the GHA authorities, all our ‘front-line’ and administrative workers for the fantastic, untiring, work that is being carried out on behalf of everyone in Gibraltar. God bless you all.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Our parishes, our 8 priests and those we employ, depend almost totally on your generous donations for their running costs. We have 2 major historic buildings to maintain, 5 parish churches, the Shrine and various chapels and centres.
Indeed, without your support, we simply could not manage as a Diocese. Without this support we cannot deliver our spiritual and pastoral care. Without you, we cannot look after those in need. Without you we will not be able to look after our priests when they too will fall ill. Without this support, we could not give back to you in the form of the priestly ministry you are accustomed to.
The Covid-19 situation is affecting everyone in our community, individuals and businesses alike. The Church is no different.
Since we operate from your charitable contributions, it means that now that there are no religious services, practically all our normal income through Sunday collections and devotional offerings have suddenly ceased.
Many have been asking how they can continue to support the Church in this time of pandemic crisis. Thank you for showing this sensitivity and interest to help us.
Please support us by donating online or by direct bank transfer [which remains the preferred option to avoid commissions and exchange rate charges on online payments] to the Diocese’s general needs. The donations received will then enable us to support individual parishes centrally, to ensure your donation is fairly distributed according to priority of need.
Thank you and may God bless you all for this act of practical love for your Church and our community in a time of truly urgent need. It will help us immensely to continue to be of service to all during this crisis, but also, to still be here for you once this tragedy is over.
Bishop of Gibraltar
You can donate online on our website:
catholic.gi which will take you to the page dedicated to this: catholic.gi/donate It will open up the donation PayPal page, but you can also access it here directly by clicking: DONATE
Please choose the first option “The Church’s APOSTOLATE/ GENERAL”
Please be aware that Paypal charges us a commission on each transaction and an exchange rate (to convert into Gibraltar pounds). You may prefer instead to make a direct bank transfer as detailed below.
Direct Bank transfers & Standing Orders can be made to:
Account Name: “The Registered Trustees of the Catholic Church”
Bank address: GIBRALTAR INTERNATIONAL BANK LTD.
INCE’S HOUSE, 310 MAIN STREET, GIBRALTAR
Gib or UK format:
|SORT CODE:||ACCOUNT NUMBER:|
|IBAN. INTERNATIONAL BANK ACCOUNT NUMBER||BIC. BANK IDENTIFIER CODE|
|GI64 GIBK 0000 0008 1200 001||GIBKGIGIXXX|
As the Referendum on abortion of 19th March drew near, there were several initiatives to pray for the protection of the baby in the womb, including a Novena to St. Joseph, concluding with his Feast day, also the 19th March. The Referendum was recently postponed due to the onslaught of the Covid-19 virus.
In the Gospel of St. Luke (1:26–38), we hear how Mary received the wonderful news that she was to be the Mother of God. Her humble, trusting, reply to the Archangel Gabriel is forever engraved in our hearts:
“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord;
let it be to me according to your word.” (v. 38)
and immediately, she conceived Jesus in her womb through the action of the Holy Spirit.
Mary said ‘Yes’ to Life. We, who follow Jesus, also say a resounding ‘yes’ to Life, to Him.
The 25th March, the Solemnity of the Annunciation, therefore, presents an unexpected opportunity to continue to pray for the protection and dignity of unborn human life.
Sadly, this need to pray for life has taken on further urgency: we have been forewarned to expect Covid-19 to be a serious threat to the lives of many, primarily the elderly, in our community.
The Cathedral has organized a Rosary Novena for Life, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which begins Tuesday 17th (Rosary followed by Holy Mass presided by Bishop Zammit) and ends on the Solemnity of the Annunciation, 25th March. On that day, Bishop Zammit will officially consecrate Gibraltar to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in a solemn act during the live-streamed Mass of the Annunciation.
We pray that as we face these evils threatening Gibraltar, God may guide, protect and convert our hearts to His.
Please pray with us this special Novena, live-streamed daily from the Cathedral:
Rosary at 10:30
followed by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at 11:00
Please spread the word around! Thank you.
An Act of Spiritual Communion
As we cannot receive Holy Communion while the Covid-19 emergency measures are in place, the Bishop is encouraging us to follow the celebration of Holy Mass online and to make an act of ‘Spiritual Communion’ instead, by reciting the suggested prayer below.
Live streaming of the Sacred Sacrifice of the Mass is available daily from the Shrine.
I believe that You
are present in the Most Holy Sacrament.
I love You above all things,
and I desire to receive You into my soul.
Since I cannot at this moment
receive You sacramentally,
come at least spiritually into my heart.
I embrace You as if You were already there
and unite myself wholly to You.
Never permit me to be separated from You.
Bishop Zammit’s Press release yesterday, summarises in a statement for the general public, the Church’s response to the Health authorities’ instructions on reducing the transmission of the dreaded Covid-19. The Bishop had issued a Decree suspending all public religious events within the Diocese.
The Decree also referred to other matters which are more specific or relevant to the Faithful. Here, we offer you the full text of the measures issued through the Decree:
All Churches and Chapels and other places of the Diocese of Gibraltar, where Masses are celebrated or other public religious services are held, are to be suspended as from Saturday 14th.
Parish Churches and Chapels may remain open daily as normal, but solely for personal prayer and visits to the Blessed Sacrament.
All prayer groups and other groups of apostolate are to cease all their regular meetings and other events organized by them, as from Saturday 14th March, until further notice.
In accordance with the instructions issued by the Health authorities, funerals are to be held at the Cemetery or Crematorium, with only immediate family members present.
Confessionals are not to be used. Instead, the Sacrament of Reconciliation may be celebrated in a larger space where there is a sufficient gap between the priest and the penitent.
With regard to concerns over fulfilling the Sunday and Holy Days of Obligation: The demands and challenges of this emergency, as for other situations when there is a genuine health crisis, pastorally overrides and mitigates the obligation to attend Mass. Instead, the Faithful are encouraged to use these times for private prayer and Spiritual Communion, for example, by reflecting on the Sunday’s readings and Gospel, reading the Bible, or saying the Rosary.
Baptisms and weddings may not be held in public, but only, if the Parish Priest judges that the sacrament cannot be postponed for genuine pastoral reasons, with a maximum of persons present as follows:
Baptisms: the person being baptized, the parents and 2 Godparents.
Weddings: the couple, their parents, 2 witnesses and a photographer.
First Holy Communions will not be held for as long as these measures are in force.
The Bishop concludes:
Since this is an evolving pandemic situation, further updates will be issued through our Diocesan website and on our Twitter account: catholic.gi and @CatholicGi
Sadly, these exceptional, emergency measures are essential. The Catholic community remains committed to cooperating with the efforts being made to reduce the impact of Covid-19 in Gibraltar.
Please click the link below, to read the Bishop’s Press Release, which explains the emergency measures that are in place in an effort to reduce the spread of Covid-19