Updated Guidance for the Further Reopening of Liturgical Life
Dear Parishioners of the Diocese of Elphin
Extra Capacity in our Churches:
The recent update in public health regulations means that: “All religious ceremonies can proceed with 50% of venue capacity, regardless of immunity status of attendees”. We will now be able to welcome significantly more people in our Churches than we have since March 2020. Each parish has been asked to adjust the seating arrangements in the way which works best for each Church.
We invite you to return to the Church for Mass, if you have not already done so. We are happy to welcome parishioners who have not been in the habit of coming regularly in the past, but who have joined us online in recent months.
In so far as COVID-19 is still present in the community, we ask you to:
- continue using the hand sanitiser
- continue wearing your face-mask, unless you are unable to do so for medical reasons
- please continue to receive Holy Communion in the hand for the time being
- continue to follow the guidance of the stewards
If you feel vulnerable, or if you have not been vaccinated, we advise you to choose a seat in a less busy area of the Church and perhaps nearer the exit where the ventilation is better.
Liturgical and Pastoral Ministries:
With the relaxation of the regulations, and further changes expected on 20th September, we hope to see a gradual restoration of all lay ministries which have been reduced or suspended. In addition to Ministers of Holy Communion and Ministers of the Word, we hope to see choirs and altar servers returning over the next few weeks. Parish Pastoral Councils should be able to resume normal meetings by the end of September.
In many parishes, people exercising various ministries will have felt the need to retire over the past eighteen months. For that reason, we will be inviting parishioners to consider placing their gifts at the service of the parish.
The Celebration of Marriages
If you are celebrating a marriage between now and 22nd October, please discuss with the parish priest the numbers that can be accommodated in the Church. It may vary significantly depending on the size of the Church.
It will now be possible to welcome a larger congregation for a funeral Mass than the 50 people which previously applied. There are still legal limits, depending on the size of the Church. Funeral directors should clarify this with the parish priest in advance. The practice of lining up to offer condolences in the Church remains suspended for now.
First Holy Communions and Confirmations
Arrangements which have already been made for Confirmation and First Communion are unlikely to change. If arrangements for First Holy Communion have not yet been made, please consult with your parish priest as this arrangement will be made locally.
1st September 2021