The Bishop of Derry says the biggest challenge facing the Church in the immediate aftermath of Covid-19 will be “rebuilding” its communities.
In his homily on Trinity Sunday, Bishop Donal McKeown said the Faithful’s sense of belonging has either “vanished” or is being “lived in virtual form” during the pandemic.
He remained hopeful that “community is possible” once again, but believing trust must be regained through safe practices.
“We want to be able to get back to gathering our parish congregations around the Table of the Lord,” said Bishop McKeown.
“But, as churches, we have to balance two values. On the one hand, there is the right to practice your faith that is a core value at the heart of most societies. But there are also the responsibilities that come with rights.
“Our challenge is to show that our churches are able to be as safe as any other place where people gather.
“If we show we can’t be trusted to have consistently good practice, who can blame others for not taking us seriously?
“If we can’t be seen to deal appropriately with the small numbers that are currently allowed to attend funerals, who will trust us with larger numbers for other services and sacraments?”
The Bishop concluded that there will be a “major need” for parishioners to look after church buildings and make them “the safest places in town” when they are allowed to reopen.