By Sarah Mac Donald - 08 August, 2020
All public Masses in Kildare, Laois and Offaly have been suspended following the Government’s announcement of new restrictions in response to the spike in Covid-19 cases in these counties.
While places of worship will be allowed to remain open for private prayer, participation in Mass and other religious services will be restricted to remote means such as online broadcasts via webcam, as well as radio or television.
A maximum of 25 people will be allowed to attend funerals while indoor events connected to the funeral are limited to a maximum of six people.
In a statement, Bishop Denis Nulty of Kildare & Leighlin said, “I know this is very difficult news particularly for the 38 parishes of Kildare & Leighlin affected by this two-week shutdown.”
He stressed that in order to comply with the latest measures from Government and Department of Health officials, Kildare & Leighlin is required to suspend all public Masses and gatherings in churches in the Kildare, Laois and Offaly parts of the diocese for a period of two weeks from midnight on Friday, 7th August.
He said he was aware that Confirmations, First Communions, Baptisms and Marriages would have to be rescheduled once again, and the measures around funerals would have to be strictly adhered to, in order to ease the spread of the virus.
“Parishioners living in the counties affected are asked to very much abide by these measures so as to protect their own health and the health of all others, particularly the vulnerable,” Bishop Nulty stressed.
In a tweet posted after he celebrated Mass in Rathoe church in Ballon Parish, the Bishop said it was a “tough visit in the aftermath of the news earlier for 38 of our churches”.
In a message to the faithful of Kildare, Laois and Offaly, Dr Nulty told them they were “particularly in my prayers” as the country deals with the fallout from the increase in numbers of those infected by Covid-19.
“All of us in the diocese, no matter where we are, or what part of the seven counties that make up Kildare & Leighlin, we have a personal responsibility to do our best to protect ourselves and those we love. We do that by washing our hands regularly, sanitising the space around us, keeping our social distance, and avoiding large crowds and congregations.”
He told those who are in any way vulnerable not to attend Mass but to watch instead on the webcam and he encouraged every parish to pray the diocesan Coronavirus prayer.
Bishop Nulty said he was praying particularly for those who are affected by or living with the Coronavirus at the moment.
“In this special month of August, we celebrate Our Lady’s great feast day of the Assumption. Let us pray that Our Lady will hold all of us and those we love in her arms – in these days while we can’t hold one another.”
In a tweet, Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin offered his “deepest sympathy to our colleagues who minister in Kildare, Laois and Offaly and to those whom they serve. With God’s help and the goodwill of all, this spike will be stopped. You will be in our prayers,” he said.
Kildare & Leighlin priest, Fr Paddy Byrne tweeted on Friday evening: “Sincere prayers tonight for workers from local meet factories and residents of direct provision accommodation, who have tested positive for Covid-19. I pray they will all recover well and that our Island will continue to keep this virus under control.”
Live streaming of Masses and Services from churches in Ireland and the UK can be found here: http://churchservices.tv