As and from 6.00 a.m. on Saturday January 22nd 2022, the Government has removed most of the public health measures that had been in place. Some public health measures, such as the wearing of face masks, remain in place until February 28th, 2022.
Parishes can now start the process of ensuring that our churches and religious services return to how they operated before the pandemic. While it is a matter for each Parish to decide how it wishes to proceed, we would recommend that Parishes proceed with care and caution. Please bear in mind that there are people who will be nervous about returning to Mass and public worship.
We recommend the following:-
- People are asked to continue sanitising their hands on entering and leaving the church.
- Face masks will continue to be worn by all those attending our churches.
- Holy Communion will continue to be distributed in the hand and not on the tongue.
Over the next few weeks, we recommend the gradual return of the following, namely, the return to use of collection baskets, the return of choirs and folk groups , the return to ministry of altar servers.
We recommend that the use of Holy Water fonts be delayed until the end of February, when it is expected that there will be a further Government announcement in relation to the easing and, perhaps, removal of the remaining public health measures.
While it is great that we are returning to some form of normality, it is important that we proceed with care and caution so as to ensure that all people attending our churches feel safe.
It is for each Parish to decide if it wishes to retain the services of ushers. That said, this is an opportune time to thank all volunteers who assisted in their Parishes, in whatever role, in ensuring compliance with the Covid requirements. We also wish to thank all of our Parishioners throughout the Diocese for their continued support and generosity towards their Parishes and clergy. It is very much appreciated.
Please note, that the pandemic is not over, and it is therefore important that we continue to follow the public health advice. You can keep up to date with the public health advice by visiting the Government website at www.gov.ie and the HSE website at www.hse.ie.
Diocesan Covid Support Team
January 26th, 2022.