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Churches close for duration of red alert

By Susan Gately - 02 March, 2018

Catholic Masses, Confirmation ceremonies and other religious events have been cancelled the length and breadth of Ireland for the duration of the country’s ‘red weather alert’.

In the face of the heaviest snowfall in over thirty years and a government warning to stay indoors from 4.00pm yesterday until at least midday today, multiple religious events were cancelled.

The Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin announced via the archdiocesan website that for “the duration of the current Red Weather Alert and in the areas to which the Red alert applies it is advisable to maintain churches closed and cancel all unnecessary religious ceremonies”. However, the notice added, it is “up to the Parish Priest/Rector to decide in the light of local circumstances”.

In Limerick a diocesan announcement said that “Since the National Emergency Coordination Committee has asked everybody in Munster to be indoors by 4pm tomorrow (Thursday) and to stay there until midday on Friday, Bishop Leahy has asked that public celebration of the Mass should not be celebrated in churches on Thursday evening or Friday morning.”

In the diocese of Kildare and Leighlin, Confirmation ceremonies which were to have taken place on Wednesday and Thursday in Myshall, Drumphea and Askea and on Friday in Bennekerry were cancelled.

“The decision to postpone is taken at a local parish level with my complete support,” wrote Bishop Denis Nulty on the diocesan website. “I would like to emphasise how important health and safety is with all events and sacramental moments associated with our church. I urge all of you to look in on elderly relatives and neighbours and to heed the warnings and advice, as issued by the National Emergency Coordination Group and Met Éireann,” he added.

“May the Lord keep all of us safe over these coming days and may we put our trust in Him and be aware of one another. Amen,” the bishop concluded.

In the diocese of Cork and Ross, the beautiful icon of the World Meeting of Families was due to go from St Patrick’s Cathedral, Skibbereen to the Church of the Immaculate Conception & St Patrick today, with a Welcome Liturgy planned for 7.30pm this evening, but this too has been cancelled and for now the icon is to stay in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Skibbereen “until Monday next at the earliest”.

In Limerick a choral festival planned for this weekend has been cancelled. All competitions are now scheduled to take place next weekend, 9 and 10 March, at the same venues and times. However, ‘Treasures of Polyphony and Organ masterworks’, featuring the Hudson High School Choir from the USA and Limerick Youth Choir at 5.00pm in the Sacred Heart Church on Sunday 4 March will still go ahead as planned.

Live masses are available online at www.churchservices.tv from a variety of locations throughout the day.

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