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COVID-19 Diocesan Update, 5.5.2020

COVID-19 Diocesan Update:

“Mother of God and our Mother, 
pray for us to God, the Father of mercies
that this great suffering may end
and that hope and peace may dawn anew. Amen”
(From Pope Francis’ Prayer for the Month of May 2020)

I now feel it is time to reopen our churches in the Diocese in a responsible manner for a minimum time each day for private prayer.

The decision to close our church buildings was an act of solidarity and commitment to the national effort required to suppress the COVID-19 virus. I fully recognise the huge sacrifice that closing churches has been for parishioners and priests alike.

In order for an ordered and gentle reopening to happen and to continue to support the national effort in supressing the COVID-19 pandemic, each parish would need to ensure a safe environment for both parishioners and parish staff. This will require serious consideration of the geography/layout of the church and putting in robust measures that will help facilitate social distancing and hygiene.

In order for churches to re-open in a responsible manner, the following need to be considered:

  • Signage: reminding people of social distancing, hand hygiene, minimum touching of surfaces etc.
  • Availability of hand sanitisers in appropriate locations in the church & the safe use of same.
  • Access to and flow of people within the building: If there are two entry points, could one be designated as an entrance and the other as an exit? How will social distancing be facilitated in the space? Can doors be left open to minimise the amount of touching?
  • Cleaning of the church: Can measures be put in place to ensure that surfaces are cleaned at least once a day? Who will do this? Can this be done by our parish staff or volunteers? Might the parish enlist the help of extra volunteers?

I think the phrase often used by Dr. Tony Holohan “we will see how this plays out” is a good analysis of the current situation. This gentle reopening of churches responds to the deep need for parishioners, some who have perhaps been cocooned for weeks, to call into their local church.

Electronic Donation Facility: While appreciating changes in personal financial circumstances at this time, a number of requests have ben made by parishioners looking for ways to support their local parish and the diocese at this time. To this effect an electronic donate facility will shortly be introduced onto this KandLe website. This facility will offer the donor an opportunity to donate to any one of the 56 parishes or particular Diocesan collections. We deeply appreciate your support at this time.

Every blessing & good wish,
Tuesday 5 May 2020