Bishop Duffy has asked that the guidelines below, issued by the Irish Bishops this evening, be circulated and noted. These guidelines are issued as Norms and have effect under Canon Law. 

 In particular,

  • all Confirmations are postponed until further notice
  • Due to the emergency, all are dispensed from the obligation to physically attend Sunday Mass.
  • Where normal attendance at Mass on Sundays or weekdays is less than 100, there is no reason not to celebrate a public Mass. 
  • Mass with limited congregations can be celebrated to permit participation by webcam or parish radio. Pope Francis does this himself every morning via the Vatican YouTube channel. Also, attention can be drawn for those who cannot attend Mass to the traditional practice of Spiritual Communion.
  • Funeral Masses can be celebrated but limited to close relatives or friends with a maximum of 100 people inside the Church. 
  • Similarly, at Baptisms and Weddings, attendances inside the Church are not to exceed 100 people. 
  • Within the Churches it is necessary that people observe a distance of at least one metre from each other. This is because one of the easiest ways in which the virus is transmitted is through close contact.
  • It is not permitted to pass collection baskets or collection bags from person to person. Arrangements must be made locally for closely monitored collection points at entrances to Churches (with distinction between first and second collections, where necessary).
  • Over the coming days, updated information will be made available, including the provision of times for the celebration of Mass online in those churches which have the facility to do so. I will be in contact tomorrow with those parishes who have webcam and radio to confirm times for online Masses. I will be in contact tomorrow with those parishes who have webcam and radio to confirm times for online Masses. 
  • We are also liaising with Shannonside-Northern Sound Radio so that Mass will be broadcast on local radio on Sundays and on St Patrick’s Day, at least. 

 Bishop Duffy is very aware of the burdens and uncertainty that this current situation brings for all. He asks that we pray for and support each other and be a sign of hope in these troubling times. In particular, we asks us to pray for those who are vulnerable, for those who care for them  (including clergy) and for all those who work in our healthcare systems.

 One of the signs of hope is that our churches will remain open for private prayer.