The Archbishop of Westminster will tomorrow launch a weekly series of livestreamed Masses for carers.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols expressed his "deep appreciation" for all those caring for others during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The special Thursday evening Masses for the sick, their families, NHS staff and those working in social care will begin at Westminster Cathedral tomorrow at 7pm. It is deliberately timed to lead up to offer a space to pray for Catholics, before the nation's weekly "clap for carers" at 8pm.
The Masses will in subsequent weeks be streamed from Arundel and Brighton, Leeds and other dioceses.
Cardinal Nichols said: "This lockdown has to go on and we have to be persistent and resilient and keep up the effort that we’re making in order to protect each other – protect other people.
“But there’s a big thank you I want to give to all those who are caring for others.
“It’s especially true in our care homes, in our hospitals, but it’s true in every place where somebody is genuinely caring for another person.
“And in these circumstances, it’s stressful, but it’s deeply appreciated.
“And we can see on a Thursday evening how much that caring work, especially in the NHS and in care homes, is appreciated.
“Now, what we want to do, is add to that public applause, the practice of public prayer."
So every Thursday at 7pm, a bishop will celebrate Mass in one of the cathedrals for the care workers.
Cardinal Nichols continued: “And this coming Thursday, I will celebrate Mass at 7 o’clock – so please do join in, if you can, on the livestreaming. Follow where the Mass takes place on each different Thursday.
“And even more importantly, use that time before 8 o’clock on a Thursday to offer your prayers of thanksgiving for these generous, courageous people, for their support – their encouragement – that God will sustain them in this great work that they’re doing.
“We applaud, but we pray and we pray fervently for them. May God bless them all.”
In an accompanying statement, the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales said they recognise that this time of the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting every person.
"Those who are sick, and their families, are suffering many hardships of isolation from contact with those they love.
"Our front-line workers in hospitals and in care homes all over our lands are giving exceptional service to those who are vulnerable at this time."
Thursday evening livestream Masses at 7pm.
Bishop Mark Davies
Our Lady Help of Christians and Saint Peter of Alcantara, Shrewsbury