Coronavirus: No funeral Masses to be held in Clogher diocese

Bishop announces bodies of the dead will be taken directly to the burial ground

File photograph: iStock

File photograph: iStock


Funeral Masses will no longer be held, while baptism and marriages will not be celebrated “until further notice” in the diocese of Clogher.

Bishop Larry Duffy said he was “saddened to have to take this course of action, but in the prevailing circumstances”, he had no other option.

During the course of the Covid-19 pandemic bodies of the dead will be taken directly to the burial ground and funeral Masses will be held at a later date “when this crisis has passed”.

Clogher is the one of the first Irish diocese in the State to ban the celebration of the sacraments of marriage and baptism and of funeral Masses, to help stem to spread of the coronavirus, also known as Covid-19.

On Thursday the Catholic Diocese of Down and Connor in Northern Ireland decided there will be no funeral Masses held during the coronavirus crisis.

The guidelines issued to Catholic clergy and parishes across Co Monaghan and parts of counties Tyrone, Fermanagh and Donegal are that:

“For all funerals, the Mass will be celebrated at a later date, when this crisis has passed. Consequently, for now, the body of the deceased will be brought directly to the place of burial. The Rite of Committal or Burial will be led by a priest, deacon or, if necessary, a layperson;

“All priests who are aged 70 years or older and those who have underlying health conditions are not expected to take part in frontline pastoral ministry and are therefore excused from doing so.

“Pastoral support to families of the deceased will be provided, but via telephone or other forms of electronic communications only.

“Clergy will not attend wakes if one is held.

“Hospital visits will be conducted by full-time trained hospital chaplains and subject to the regulation of hospital management.

“There will be no house calls (including First Friday calls) at this time. Clergy may call by phone or similar mode of communications and pray with the sick or housebound.

“Prayer Moments in Churches, such as Eucharistic Adoration, Holy Hour, Rosary or Stations of the Cross, must only be held via online means.

“Individual Confessions are not now possible. People are reminded of the long-standing pastoral practice, when penitent’s access to the Sacrament of Reconciliation is restricted, that they can be assured that their sins are forgiven if they make an act of contrition with a firm resolve to approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation after the stay at home orders are lifted.

“Baptisms and Marriages are no longer to be celebrated until further notice.

“The liturgies of Holy Week, including the Easter Triduum, are to be celebrated without a congregation being present and made available online in those churches that have livestreaming or other forms of social media available. A list of these will be made available next week on”

Bishop Duffy said when he was appointed bishop last year he “could never have imagined” taking such radical actions.

“But we all have to make sacrifices for the common good because we have a responsibility to each other. Truthfully, our fate and the fate of others is in our own hands.

“While I fully understand the impact of these measures on the life of local parishes and on parishioners, by taking these measures now, we will ensure that we can return to sacramental life as soon as possible.”