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Bury St Edmunds: Saint Edmundsbury Cathedral set to open for private prayer

Saint Edmundsbury Cathedral is set to reopen for private prayer this week as restrictions on churches begin to ease.

The Rt Rev Martin Seeley, Bishop of the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, has welcomed the new guidelines which mean funerals may also now take place in church buildings.

Churches remain closed for public worship after Boris Johnson's announcement on March 23.

John Saunders took this picture inside St Edmund's Catholic Church (36680545)
John Saunders took this picture inside St Edmund's Catholic Church (36680545)

The Bishop said: “We have to be mindful of our responsibility to the community and minimise the risk of spreading coronavirus, and the risk will stay with us especially as more visitors come to Suffolk in the Summer.

“I have made it clear to churches that if they cannot open up safely then they should not rush to do so.

"The decision should be a local one based on local circumstances and needs."

Read more: New Dean of St Edmundsbury aims to bring ‘sparkiness, holiness and fun’

The cathedral will now open from 10am-4pm, Mondays to Saturdays, for the public to enter.

There will be a one way system, limited seating, hand sanitisers at appropriate points and signage.

The shop, toilets and restaurant, the Pilgrims’ Kitchen, will remain closed.

Very Reverend Joe Hawes, Dean of St Edmundsbury, said: “We welcome the announcement that places of worship can re-open with the appropriate measures in place.

“We are working towards a phased reopening and our primary concern is the safety of everyone - the public, our worshippers, our visitors, staff and volunteers."

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Several other churches have chosen to open up for private prayer - including St Edmund's Catholic Parish.

Funerals can be held now in those churches which can meet the necessary social distancing, cleaning and hygiene requirements.

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