The obligation on Catholics to physically attend Sunday Mass has been removed by Ireland’s Catholic bishops for now and all Confirmations are postponed. Attendance at church funerals, weddings and Baptisms are being limited to 100 people but churches are to remain open.
All non-essential Catholic pastoral gatherings, meetings, retreats, seminars are cancelled.
Dublin's two Protestant cathedrals, St Patrick's and Christ Church, are closed to visitors and tourists. Mosques across Ireland are to close "where congregations exceed 100 during Friday prayers and the five daily prayers"as announced by the Irish Council of Imams.
The council, which represents 35 Imams across the island, also encouraged people “to cancel functions and gatherings until this pandemic is terminated”.
The Catholic bishops have asked that people be informed of local possibilities to participate in Mass through local radio and online.
“It may be possible for some parishes to facilitate attendance at Mass while still observing the health authority’s limit of 100 people,” they also said on Thursday.
Catholic churches are to remain open every day as “in these difficult and uncertain times, people find strength, consolation and hope in prayer”, they said, calling on people “to pray more intensely for each other and especially for those who have succumbed to the illness”. Included should be “doctors, nurses and medical staff and other carers, including clergy – that the Lord will protect them as they place their own wellbeing at risk in the service of all”, they said.
Open for services
On Friday, the Church of Ireland’s Dublin archdiocese will put resources for Sunday services on the diocesan website for those who feel attending church is a risk or where church services in their parishes are cancelled. They will also give information for those who wish to watch services online.
However Archbishop Michael Jackson hoped "the Cathedral Eucharist will go ahead on Sunday morning at 11am. This service is livestreamed by Christchurch Cathedral".
St Patrick’s Cathedral said it intended to remain open for services for as long as possible. But it would observe strictly the guidelines regarding social distancing and would ensure no more than 100 people are in the cathedral at the one time.
Chief executive of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland at Dublin's Clonskeagh Dr Nooh Al Kaddo, and Imam Sheikh Hussein Halawa, announced "cancellation of Friday congregational prayer, effective immediately until further notice".