Bishop Fintan Gavin has issued updated guidance to the clergy of the diocese which acknowledges that most Covid19 restrictions were lifted last February with ongoing caution needed.
Noting that "that we will have to learn to live with Covid19 in the safest way possible", the bishop's guidance allows for the careful restoration of most church practices which were routine before the pandemic.
Reception of Holy Communion
People may receive either in the hand or on the tongue.
While people are no longer obliged to wear face coverings in churches some may continue to do so by choice. However, for the distribution of Holy Communion, Priests, Deacons and Ministers of the Eucharist should continue to wear a face covering and to sanitise their hands before and after distributing Holy Communion.
All ministries such as choirs, music ministry, Ministers of the Word, Ministers of the Eucharist, altar servers, funeral ministry, baptism ministry and other such parish groups should be reinstated.
The ‘Do This in Memory’ parish programme in preparation for the celebration of the Sacrament of First Holy Communion as well as parish based Confirmation preparation programmes are to resume.
Taking Up of Offertory and Second Collections
It is important that all offertory and separate second collections are restored and taken up as in pre covid times during the celebration.
Livestreaming of Masses
While livestreaming of Masses was valuable during the pandemic, it’s not a real substitute for being present in-person to participate in the gathering of the faith community. Understandably people with health or age-related restrictions will still need to participate in Mass via livestream and in order for this to happen, I would ask that parishes continue to livestream a limited number of Masses.
Additional Weekend Masses
Additional Weekend Masses that were arranged during the pandemic should be finally discontinued.
Holy Water Fonts
Holy Water should be available in Fonts.
There is no reason why Station Masses cannot be restored. This again will depend on how the virus behaves during the winter months.