As promised last Friday I now issue ongoing guidelines for the diocese. These guidelines will endure until the Government indicate they are no longer necessary.
- Regarding Masses (daily and weekend) and other liturgies in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic: no public Masses with a congregation will be celebrated until further notice.
- Churches will be open each day for private prayer. In attending church people are asked to follow all guidelines, including hand – washing before coming to church and on return home, keeping their distance from any person they meet, and also minimising their touching of hard surfaces.
- Adoration groups have asked for some guidance. Any who wish to spend a period in prayer can do so from any seat in the church with their focus on the tabernacle. Exposition is not to take place as it would draw people to sit in the seats immediately in front of the monstrance and thus increase the risk of the virus being contracted.
The continuance of ringing the church bell at 11am on Sunday morning is recommended. Any who hear it will be reminded that we are never alone, Christ is with us, our strength and guide. At 11am each Sunday it is a call to us all to pause and spend a few minutes with God in prayer, uniting with all in our diocese. Many have remarked that doing this is a positive experience.
Last weekend was a difficult weekend for us all, – the initial adjustment mental and physical to ‘social distancing’. Now people are adjusting well and feel more at ease. We realise that we must give full cooperation to our government and the HSE. So many people have shown great personal qualities and great wisdom. There are so many examples of the ‘good neighbour’ and it does all our hearts good. I have in mind all the people putting the word out in their community, by phone or on-line, that they are available to help anyone in need. Also many people have expressed their appreciation of their parish for prayer and for Masses. Many have joined in the Mass on-line or via parish radio. Now there is 10.30am daily Mass on the RTE News Now channel.
People have mentioned that saying the Rosary (or one decade) each evening has new meaning for them. A decade is just one Our Father, ten Hail Marys and a Glory be to the Father. It is a simple way of spending two minutes turned to God.
Pray for example the mystery ‘the Carrying of the Cross’ pondering that Christ knows what it is to suffer; or the Mystery of ‘the Descent of the Holy Spirit’, Christ is at work in our lives through the Holy Spirit; or the mystery of ‘the Assumption’, Mary in heaven reassures us of what God’s love and care in Jesus Christ and His offer of eternal life.
Time each day for prayer can give inner calm amid these very unsettling days.
When we pray:
- we unite in Christ with all who pray in our parish
- we reflect on Christian HOPE, “we can cope with what each day brings because God is our strength”
- calling to mind how difficult many in our communities are finding these days, we pray that we might all be there for each other at this time.
Words of Jesus Christ for us all at this time:
“Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest.” Mt 11:28
If anyone loves me they will keep my word,
and my father will love them,
and we shall come to them,
and make our home with them. Jn 14
Peace I bequeath to you,
My own peace I give you,
a peace the world cannot give,
this is my gift to you. Jn 14
The Divine Mercy Prayer: Jesus I trust in you.
O Sacred Heart of Jesus we place all our trust in thee.
Bishop Ray Browne. 19th March 2020
Feast of St Joseph, Protector of families.