The Irish Bishops issued a framework document “for the return to the public celebration of Masses and the sacraments” and our diocese has put it out for discussion in clergy conferences, Parish Pastoral Councils and the NI executive.
The result of the consultation is as follows. Our first priority is the obligation to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all people. The obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days remains suspended. You are discouraged from attending Mass more than once a week. We have our Covid-19 Committee of seven who have met. We will have public Mass for 50 parishioners recommencing next Saturday 4th July at 5.00pm, Sunday at 10.00am and 7.00pm. Weekday Mass will continue according to the schedule below from Monday 6th July. If you wish to attend any Mass please book beforehand by contacting the PP by phone, or by email. There can be no “block booking” (“we’ll be there every Saturday at 5”). Members of the same household are permitted to sit together without the need to observe 2 metre distancing. Please follow the direction of the stewards (we have eleven). Regarding the toilets being open during Mass: please notify the PP if you think you will have need of the toilet during Mass. A steward will always be available to open in an emergency. The toilet will remain closed for five minutes after use and otherwise remain closed.
Due to the spread of droplets there will be no singing at Mass. Our projector will be used for the words of the Gloria and Creed, so there will be no need for missaletes. In order to keep the length of the celebrations to a minimum Priests are advised by the bishop to keep the Prayer of the Faithful and homilies short. During the distribution of Holy Communion, the celebrant will wear a visor. Holy Communion will only be distributed in the hand. We can leave the church by both doors, just as we can enter by both doors. Please observe social distancing outside before and after Mass.
Despite all these terms and conditions those involved in these decisions are delighted that we’re taking this step towards normality and are able to welcome back our faithful and patient parishioners to the summit and source of our religious life.
Please contact Fr Austin(firstname.lastname@example.org) or Emer O’Keefe (email@example.com) if you can volunteer as a steward or as a member of the cleanup squad (we have six). A big thank you to all who volunteered. Your generous gift of commitment and time is greatly appreciated.