Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, has responded to the easing of lockdown restrictions in England which will now allow churches to reopen from 4th July.
The Prime Minister made the announcement in his statement on Tuesday in the House of Commons and at the same time announced the reopening of pubs, restuarants and hairdressers
Cardinal Nichols thanked fellow religious leaders for their work on the matter and said: "We have waited with patience and longing for this moment, understanding the importance of protecting the health of people in our society. Now we are full of anticipation that we will be able again to take part together in the Eucharist, which lies at the centre of our faith.
"It is important that we continue to abide by the guidance, given by the Government, on appropriate social distancing and the other measures to avoid all unnecessary risk. Our own detailed guidance will be distributed around dioceses and parishes so everyone can be confident that they may come to Mass securely and understand the part they are to play in protecting each other from any remaining risk of infection."
Churches have been allowed to reopen for individual prayer for nearly a fortnight, but services have had to be broadcast online or down the phone.
The Cardinal suggested that the church will not abandon posting services online altogether: "The past few months have been a time of fashioning new patterns of prayer, new ways of exploring and enriching our faith and vigorous ways of reaching out to those in need. We can build on these, forgetting nothing of the graces we have been given. Yet now, with the experience of opening our churches for individual prayer already gained, this return to the more normal patterns of worship will be of great importance."