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“WHEN WILL THE CHURCH OPEN?”

STATEMENT AT MASSES , SUNDAY 21 6 20

INTENTION TO REOPEN THE CHURCH FOR MASSES FROM JULY 6TH

It is very good news for all of us that the overall situation in the country is looking so much more promising. In his latest statement the Taoiseach announced that churches could reopen from the 29th. It is important to remind ourselves again that this does not mean that the doors will be thrown open and there will be no restrictions.

This will not be the case because again following the advice of the government backed up by Dublin diocese, we must take great care that there is no second phase of the pandemic and we cannot relax our precautions. Our team has been working hard to prepare the church and more needs to be done. Our pastoral council has been recruiting volunteers to help with hygiene and stewarding and we are working on a booking system because of the limited number that can attend any one Mass.

Archbishop Dermot has issued a list of things that must be in place before he will permit us to open the church and we hope we can complete his requirements during this coming week. Realistically we will probably receive permission to celebrate public Masses from Monday July 6th. The primary consideration is the wellbeing of all who come to our church and that nothing we do could contribute to the spread of this virus. We have to move slowly and carefully.

Thank you for your patience, thanks to our Parish Pastoral Council and the many other people working to prepare for our return and please do refer to our website and Facebook pages and spread the word as not everyone uses the internet

Parish Pastoral Council Communication 14th June 2020

This week we received the Irish Bishops Framework Document for a gradual return to the Public Celebration of Mass and the Sacraments.

Again it states that Churches should not open until they are ready to do so.

Preparation in our Parish has now taken on real momentum.

We have carried out measurements in the Church and we expect to be able to accommodate approximately 36 people at any one Mass.

The guidelines set out by the Bishops encourage people to attend Mass perhaps one day per month for the moment.

The dispensation from the Sunday and Holy Day obligation is further extended.

Distribution of Holy Communion is also being addressed, and we have reviewed what is planned elsewhere including other countries.

A number of options now need to be considered such as a ‘booking system’ to ensure only the appropriate or maximum number allowed to attend a Mass is present.

A review of Mass times to ensure what works best is also being looked at.

We have identified an entry and exit door which ensures the best use of space and appropriate distancing.

We will take professional advice where appropriate to ensure we are fully compliant.

Sub-groups will be set up by the Parish Pastoral Council to take on different tasks.

We are encouraged by the many Volunteers who are already willing to help and more will be needed.

Cleaning and disinfecting are very important, as will be stewarding.

 

ANNOUNCEMENT AT SUNDAY MASSES  IN DIVINE WORD CHURCH, MARLEY GRANGE,  JUNE 7TH

One of the most frequently asked questions of us these days is when will the church open. It is lovely to hear of the very special place this church has in people’s lives and how important is communal worship.

Opening the church is not just a matter of opening the doors. It is a very complex problem and will present us with a whole new way of being together, at least while this pandemic lasts. At the heart of the matter is the need to keep everyone safe and to avoid any possibility of passing on the virus.

Archbishop Dermot Martin has asked every parish to prepare a plan for reopening and has said that no church should be opened unless proper preparations have been made.

I want to reassure parishioners that we are indeed planning for reopening. Our parish pastoral council has been meeting frequently and we are receiving very good advice from various sources.

Reopening presents many problems. Under social distancing we can probably accommodate not more than thirty or forty people at a time; supervision of entrances and exits, cleaning and disinfecting, even how to distribute Holy Communion, are some of the problems we must resolve. There is no doubt that volunteers will be needed to make all this possible.

The pastoral council will be keeping our Website and Facebook pages updated as our planning progresses.

This is an opportunity to thank you most sincerely for your patience, for your affirmation of our webcam presence and for the practical and financial support that the parish and Servite community has received in this difficult time. This is a wonderful parish community and together we will continue to pray for an end to this pandemic and for the safe restoration of our community worship.

fr. Jim, osm, pp

 

ARCHBISHOP DERMOT MARTIN’S LETTER OF JUNE 9TH

Dear Father, Dear Parishioners,

The weeks since the imposition of lockdown have been difficult weeks.  We have had to impose severe restrictions on Church life that have caused suffering for all of us.  Our parishes have however reacted in so many creative ways to animate Church life within the experience of lockdown and bring comfort to people.  I thank all our parishes for what they have done.

Now we face a new stage.  Our response has to be based on the same two actions: strict adherence to the norms of public health and renewed creativity as we embrace our congregations with a renewed enthusiasm.

The Framework Document for a Return to the Public Celebration of Mass and the Sacraments approved by the Irish Episcopal Conference is an important road map on that path.  The document will be published later today. It was decided however that it should be sent to priests and parishes in advance. [This document is now on our website]

This is a General Framework document and it will be for each diocese to put flesh on it and adapt it to local situations.  There is however enough guidance in the Framework to enable each parish to move forward with the preparations which are already in many cases underway.   In cooperation with the Diocesan Liturgical Resource Centre, over the next few days I will provide more detailed and specific suggestions for the Archdiocese of Dublin.

I would also be interested in hearing the views of parishes on the celebration of Confirmation and First Holy Communion in the coming months.  In general, the celebration of Confirmation will be delegated to the local Parish Priest.  Social distancing will mean that the numbers who will be able to attend any individual ceremony will be greatly reduced and thus will involve multiple ceremonies.

After the end of primary school term, candidates for confirmation will be moving on to secondary schools, often distant from their current parish. It is important that parishes make sure to have lists of the names and addresses of candidates so that contact can be made with their parents.

The Episcopal Conference is preparing three short videos will be available to parishes and be used as final preparation before reception of the sacraments.

Once again, I thank our parishes for what has been achieved under difficult situations.  We should move forward now with enthusiasm and prudence.   Be ready to open on that date which will be indicated; if you are not ready, do not open until you are; if it is not possible to fulfil the conditions, do not reopen.

Opening doors once again is just one step in the challenge of renewal. We face many new challenges and opportunities and I believe that we have learned many lessons during this lockdown which will help us face the future with hope.

+Diarmuid Martin