This is a summary of provisions made in our diocese in the light of the Covid19 pandemic (updated on March 25, 2020). These provisions take account of government restrictions and directives of the Irish Bishops Conference.
Norms for Care of one another
- All weekend and weekday Masses are not celebrated with a congregation. This also applies to Station Masses. Priests are asked to celebrate Mass privately in a church or in their home to be offered for their people. When possible, it is to be streamed live on the internet. (See list of parishes with webcams here.) In the current emergency situation, all are dispensed from the obligation to physically attend Sunday Mass.
- All pastoral gatherings and meetings, such as formation gatherings, retreats and seminars are cancelled.
- Baptisms should only be celebrated where there is an urgent need such as danger of death. All other baptisms should be deferred until further notice.
- All Confirmations are postponed until further notice.
- Funeral Masses: it is imperative that it is only close immediate family and very close friends attend. These numbers must be kept to an absolute minimum.
- The Sacrament of Reconciliation: The normal schedule of Confessions in churches has ceased for the time being.
- Forgiveness of Sins and Easter duty: Catholic doctrine teaches that if a person cannot get to Confession, it is sufficient to confess one’s sins to God, seeking forgiveness and with the intention of going when next possible to Confession. God forgives the sins and the person is renewed in heart and soul. When the opportunity then arises later to go to Confession, he or she should do so.
- Visiting the Sick and First Friday Calls: In the current situation, in the interests of public health and the health of priests, priests are asked to not visit homes or the sick in nursing homes. (Priests who are designated hospital chaplains continue their ministry subject to the guidance of the hospital.)
- Sacrament of the Sick for the dying: Priests have received guidance about this ministry and how to provide it – keeping everyone’s safety in mind.
- In these difficult and uncertain times, people find strength, consolation and hope in prayer. Churches should remain open for prayer each day subject to the requirements for social distancing and hygiene.
Resources for Praying our way through
This is an occasion for all of us – especially in families – to pray more intensely for each other and especially for those who have succumbed to the illness. We should pray also for those at the frontlines – especially doctors, nurses and medical staff and other carers, including clergy – that the Lord will protect them as they place their own wellbeing at risk in the service of all.
Resources for Prayer
- Prayers to pray during the Pandemic
- A leaflet for use as a Service of Prayer at home when we cannot go to Mass.