Public Masses, Confirmations and First Communions have been cancelled in Dublin for three weeks after the Government’s new guidelines were announced this evening.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin sent an “urgent notice” to parishes in the Archdiocese of Dublin this morning (Friday), presupposing the Government’s announcement as he said the outcome “seems likely”.
The restrictions will see churches only open to the public once again for private prayer. For weddings and funerals attendance will be limited to 25 people. However, weddings planned for this weekend can continue under level 2 restrictions, which means up to 50 people may attend, according to Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s speech outside Leinster house this evening.
Archbishop Martin said he felt it was good to send out “preliminary advice based on the published general level 3 advice”. He added he would send out more “definitive guidance” after the Government’s decision was announced.
He said: “The norms apply only to the churches and oratories within Co. Dublin. It does not apply to the churches in the Archdiocese of Dublin in Counties Wicklow, Wexford, Kildare and Laois.
“It is likely therefore that places of worship will remain closed from midnight tonight, except for private prayer, wedding and funerals. Attendance at wedding liturgies and funerals would be limited to 25. Religious services can be transited online with no public presence.
“Effectively this places churches in the position they were before the reopening earlier this summer, or as the situation was in counties Kildare and Laois earlier this month.”
He concluded: “Confirmation and First Communion services will therefore not be possible during this period and will have to be postponed. Permission already granted for Confirmations remain valid for the new date.”
The Government, under advice from NPHET, placed Dublin on level 3 of the Government’s ‘Covid-19 Resilience and National Recovery Plan’, which begins at midnight tonight and will continue for three weeks.