‘A season of hope’: Church leaders welcome return of religious services

Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin to seek clarity on ‘pods’ of 50 at funerals in large churches

Church of Ireland Archbishop Michael Jackson of Dublin: ‘We particularly welcome the increase in numbers permitted to attend funerals as this will bring enormous comfort to those grieving the loss of loved ones.’ File photograph: iStock

Church of Ireland Archbishop Michael Jackson of Dublin: ‘We particularly welcome the increase in numbers permitted to attend funerals as this will bring enormous comfort to those grieving the loss of loved ones.’ File photograph: iStock

 

Leaders of the State’s main Christian churches have welcomed the easing of lockdown restrictions from May 10th, announced by Taoiseach Micheál Martin on Thursday, including the recommencement of in-person religious services.

Church of Ireland Archbishop Michael Jackson of Dublin said the resumption of “in-person church services” with up to 50 worshippers offered the opportunity to welcome people back “through the doors of our churches”. He said the church will “continue to work within the guidelines to ensure our places of worship are as safe as possible”.

“Since Christmas we have reached out to people in their homes and we acknowledge the tremendous work carried out by clergy and all who assist them in creating online services. We particularly welcome the increase in numbers permitted to attend funerals as this will bring enormous comfort to those grieving the loss of loved ones,” said the archbishop.

“An Taoiseach spoke this evening of finding hope for the future. In this season of Easter, a season of hope, we are thankful for the efforts of our population, from frontline and essential workers and the scientists who have worked on the creation of vaccines, to all of us who have made sacrifices to bring us to this stage of beginning to reopen society,” he added.

Catholic Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin also singled out the decision by Government to allow up to 50 people attend indoor funerals.

Bishop Doran said he would be seeking clarity on whether people would be allowed in “pods” of 50 in larger churches, as had happened with the easing of lockdown restrictions last year and which he said had been successfully managed.

Speaking on RTÉ news, Bishop Doran said lay helpers throughout the dioceses were working hard to ensure extra cleaning and sanitisers were allocated in churches to make the reopening as safe at it could be.