Level 3 restrictions and parishes

Bishop Fintan Gavin has written to priests of the diocese regarding the new restrictions.

Following the government announcement yesterday evening that the entire country will be elevated to Level 3 of the national plan for Resilience and Recovery Plan of Living with Covid-19 the following changes will take effect from midnight tonight 6th October.

Public Worship
Churches should remain open for personal prayer but not for the celebration of Mass with a congregation (i.e. with no public presence).  This is like the situation that applied before 29th June last.  The only exceptions to this are weddings and funerals which can take place with up to 25 people.

Masses are to continue to be celebrated without a congregation.  These should be streamed via church webcams where installed or Facebook Live so that parishioners can pray and stay connected.  Such means of communication have been very helpful when churches were closed to public worship from 14th March – 29th June.  I would encourage you to continue to use such means of communication to give messages of hope and solidarity to parishioners in these difficult times.

Funerals
Up to 25 people will be allowed to attend funerals of loved ones, to pay their respects and grieve together from Wednesday 7th October.  This means that immediate family members and close relatives, not exceeding 25 persons, may attend Funeral Masses, burials and cremations, provided that social distancing and hand hygiene rules are adhered to.

Weddings
Up to 25 people can attend the celebration of marriage in a church.

Baptisms
Baptisms are not to take place until further notice.

Meetings
As no organised indoor gatherings are to take place, in-person parish meetings are not to proceed until further notice.  I ask that you continue to use new communication means such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams to meet remotely with your parish groups where it is possible.

Celebration of the Sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation
All remaining celebrations of these Sacraments cannot take place and are to be deferred until restrictions are restored to Level 2.

First Friday Calls
While visitors from one other household to a maximum of 6 people only may visit a family home it would not be prudent to visit for First Friday calls at this time.  However, in the case of an emergency sick-call, having been requested by the family, you should respond and take all necessary precautions such as hand sanitising and the wearing of a face covering.