Parishes currently in ‘lockdown’: public Masses and other religious services are not permitted. However, for the duration of the lockdown, funerals and burials may take place in these parishes with a maximum of 25 people in attendance.
Parishes not in ‘lockdown’: the permitted numbers for attending Mass and funerals, have not changed. The local arrangements of pods of up to 50 people with physical distancing, sanitation and separate entry and exit points remain in place. This also applies to weddings, Confirmations and First Communions, provided that the physical distancing and hand hygiene measures can be maintained and that congregating before and after the ceremony is not permitted.
On the celebration of Baptisms: both individual and multiple baptisms can take place but with the following stipulations:
1. In either case, no more than 10 people from each family can be in attendance.
2. In the case of multiple baptisms it must be possible to physically distance the families from one another in the church.
All safety protocols are to be followed before, during and after the ceremony.
Face coverings: It is very encouraging to see the wearing of face coverings (masks or visors) by those attending Church. All who are over the age of 13 and who do not have any condition to prevent their wearing of one, should wear one. This should be communicated to families preparing for sacraments and to those coming to Church for Masses and for private prayer.
General Comments: In the 32 parishes I have visited to date the work being undertaken to ensure as safe as possible a celebration of the Mass and the Sacraments is exemplary. While the effort has been huge and demanding, we must persevere in this responsibility so that we can continue to give praise and thanksgiving to our God and continue to be a living Church in the midst of our communities in this time of trial and such suffering for so many.
We will remember each other in prayer.