A limited number of Confirmations will take place in Meath's Catholic diocese this month, though the majority of ceremonies will be in September and October, a spokeswoman has said.
It follows the announcement last week by Bishop of Meath Tom Deenihan that, despite public health advice to the contrary where First Holy Communions and Conformations this month were concerned, these would go ahead there from mid-August.
Similar decisions were announced last week by Bishop of Elphin (mainly Roscommon and Sligo) Kevin Doran, Bishop of Waterford and Lismore Phonsie Cullinan, Bishop of Killaloe (mainly Clare) Fintan Monahan, Bishop of Clogher diocese (Monaghan and Fermanagh) Larry Duffy, Bishop of Raphoe (mainly Donegal) Alan McGuckian, Bishop of Ferns (mainly Wexford) left the decision on holding Communions and Confirmations to parish priests and parishioners locally.
On Tuesday of last week Archbishop of Dublin Dermot Farrell sent a strongly-worded letter to priests criticising current restrictions and telling them they had permission to restart Holy Communions and Confirmations, not withstanding Government guidelines.
However, last weekend the Archbishop said, in light of a Government statement the previous day committing to ease restrictions soon, “I have renewed my advice to parishes to postpone the celebration of the sacraments until September.”
The Meath diocese spokeswoman said on Thursday that “the sacrament of Confirmation takes place from mid-August to early October. All parishes are free to postpone previously scheduled dates if they so wish”.
She pointed out that “attendance is confined to the candidate, their parents and one sponsor. All will be sitting in a pod of 50 and wearing masks and the anointing will be by cotton bud to remove the need for physical contact. The diocese is satisfied that there is little or no risk attached to the ceremony itself and trusts parents to act responsibly afterwards”.
A spokeswoman for Elphin diocese said, where it was concerned, that “for the vast majority of parishes, the celebration of First Holy Communion will take place later in September – a decision which was made several months ago. The sacrament of Confirmation takes place from mid-August to early October. All parishes are free to postpone previously scheduled dates if they so wish”.
In a statement last week Bishop of Waterford and Lismore Phonsie Cullinan said “I can see no valid reason for the further postponement of the sacraments for our children. The communication from the Government and from Nphet regarding the Sacraments leaves a great deal to be desired.”
He said “access to these sacraments (First Communion and Confirmation) for our children may go ahead from mid-August”.
First Communions/Confirmations are going ahead in Raphoe diocese from mid-August.