‘Absolutely no way’ Dublin Communions and Confirmations go ahead in May or June

Appeal to Travellers to abide by HSE Covid-19 guidelines on funerals during pandemic

A file image of Communion dress for sale at a Dublin market. The Archbishop of Dublin has said there is ‘absolutely no way’ Confirmation or First Holy Communion services will take place in Dublin during May and June. File photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times.

A file image of Communion dress for sale at a Dublin market. The Archbishop of Dublin has said there is ‘absolutely no way’ Confirmation or First Holy Communion services will take place in Dublin during May and June. File photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times.

 

There is “absolutely no way” Confirmations or First Holy Communions will take place in Dublin in May and June, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has said.

“We can only begin to speak of a time frame for these sacraments when schools have been fully reopened and when it is possible once again to hold large indoor gatherings of people, especially children. This will not be the case for some months ahead,” he said.

“I realise that this is very difficult for the pupils and their families. I will be in contact with the priests, parish teams and schools at a later date when there is further clarity around the situation. It might be a good idea for parishes to find ways of keeping direct contact with candidates for the sacraments.”

Archbishop Martin said he was “pleased” to see that the bereaved were being offered funeral services in churches within the confines of the current pandemic restrictions.

“In many cases the funeral Mass is also being live streamed so that a wider range of relatives and friends can join, even in different parts of the world,” he said.

“Where possible people might line the streets, respecting social distancing, or stand at the doors of their houses as a local funeral passes by. This can be a much appreciated tribute to the deceased and a comfort to the bereaved.”

Option

Archbishop Martin and other bishops had recently been in touch with the Irish Association of Funeral Directors to remind its members that church services remain an option for the funerals of those who have died from Covid-19. The funeral directors were encouraged to ask families if this was their preference and to check this with the local parish.

The Dublin Parish of the Travelling People has “urgently” encouraged members to follow HSE guidelines on large gatherings at hospitals and for funerals.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has said funerals should be private and limited to a maximum of 10 people and that only members of the deceased person’s household and close family members should attend.

Mourners are also asked to observe social distancing guidelines at funerals with physical interactions such as shaking hands and hugging to be avoided.

“We understand this may cause feelings of guilt, pain, fear and disconnection arising from not being able to do things in our normal way especially when a loved one dies,” a parish statement said of the guidelines.

“Right now we are asked to honour and pay our respects to the person who has died, by reaching out to the family through social media and phone calls, in our private prayer and if possible watching the funeral through live streaming. In the future when everyone can gather together safely, then all our family and friends can celebrate their loved one’s life.”