Churches may reopen for public events in late June, Archbishop says

‘Mass with social distancing not the joyful celebration we desire — but an important first stage’

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin: ‘There is a willingness on the part of public authorities to examine the possibility of bringing forward the opening of churches’.  Photograph: Bryan O Brien

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin: ‘There is a willingness on the part of public authorities to examine the possibility of bringing forward the opening of churches’. Photograph: Bryan O Brien

 

It is possible churches may reopen for public events later this month rather than on July 20th as currently planned, Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has said.

“There is a willingness on the part of public authorities to examine the possibility of bringing forward the opening of churches for public worship into phase three of the roadmap, which would begin on June 29th. Naturally, any decision would have to take place closer to that date and would have to take into consideration the overall situation of the virus at that time,” he said in a brief statement on Thursday evening.

“In any case, it is important that we progress the preparation of our Churches so that if possible we are fully ready towards the end of June,” he said.

The Catholic Bishops are to hold their summer meeting early next week and he said that on Monday they would “issue clear guidelines for all dioceses (on church re-openings). Each parish should be building up a core group that can monitor preparation.”

In the meantime, people “should be careful to observe the current norms and show that we will be in a position to implement and respect norms should the timeline change. Jumping the queue can set everyone back,” he said.

The Archbishop drew attention to advice given in other countries, to “be ready by the date; if you are not fully ready, wait until you are ready; if it is not possible to apply the guidelines, remain closed”.

It was also the case that it might not “be possible for all Churches to open and provide the necessary supervision needed.” He commented that “watching televised Masses from other European countries in these days, I realise that Mass with social distancing is not the joyful celebration that we might desire — but it is an important first stage.”