ALL masses in the Diocese of Killaloe have been suspended.
In a pastoral message, Bishop Fintan Monahan said, “In View of the Government Statement and the need to avoid indoor public gatherings of more than 100 people, and the difficulty of guaranteeing this in practice, following consultation I have decided as follows: All public Masses in this diocese, Sundays and weekdays are suspended until March 29 or until further notice.
“The obligation to be physically present at Mass on Sundays and Holy Days (including St Patrick’s Day) is therefore suspended for everybody until further notice.”
“Priests will continue to remember the needs of parishioners at Mass celebrated privately.
“The faithful are encouraged to join spiritually in the celebration of Mass, either on parish radio or on web-cam. Parishes that have web-cams include: Kilrush, Roscrea, Ennis, Quin, Nenagh and Shannon.
“Parishioners are also encouraged to pray at home, including especially prayers for the sick, for those who are caring for the sick and for all who are working so hard to protect us.”
Only members of immediate family are asked to attend baptisms.
With regard to weddings, Bishop Monahan said, “It is important that we observe the government guidelines in relation to public gatherings. The recommendation is that no gathering of more than 100 persons take place indoors. Wedding guests should be limited to the Bridal Party and immediate family. Guests are asked to observe the hygiene protocols and observe social distance while in the Church.”
With regard to funerals, he said, “We appreciate that a bereavement is a very sensitive time in the life of any family and that the support of friends and neighbours is an integral part of the grieving and healing process. This has involved the tradition of expressing sympathy by attendance at the funeral rites and making physical contact with the bereaved. In the light of the guidelines received we ask that only immediate family and close friends would attend the funeral liturgy, observing the protocols already mentioned. At such a time as this, a thoughtful card or note expressing sympathy might be effective in expressing our solidarity with the bereaved.”
He requested people’s prayers for the sick. “I encourage all people of faith to bring the current situation to the heart of their prayer and I invoke the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary on all those who are suffering and on all who care for and love them.”