Preparations should be made for a full reopening of Catholic churches in Dublin, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has said. Many churches in the archdiocese have remained open for private prayer, funerals, baptisms and weddings, with very limited numbers.
The Archbishop has now suggested the churches begin “preparing a detailed plan for full reopening.”
Markers “could be laid on benches and on floors to facilitate social distancing, remembering that the two metre distance applies not just to those beside you, but also those in front and behind you. A written plan should be developed regarding hand hygiene for larger numbers and for adequate cleansing of churches,” he said.
The Government roadmap proposes that the opening of churches and places of worship should take place in mid-July. “Like all other measures, it is possible that if the public health situation permits it, these dates could be brought forward. It is important for the Church to give the message that we are enthusiastically preparing for the opening of all our churches and the resumption of public Masses,” Archbishop Martin said.
In the cross-border Armagh archdiocese Catholic Primate Archbishop Eamon Martin said "our parishes and dioceses have now begun to draw up their plans and 'roadmaps' for a return to collective prayer as soon as it is safe to do so. It has been very difficult for us not being able to gather together in our beautiful church buildings."
In Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin also pointed out that Glasnevin cemetery was now open for the bereaved and general public, "via the pedestrian entrance only at the junction with Slaney Road, from 1.30 pm – 3.30 pm Monday to Saturday."
This was for visist to graves only while pedestrian access was also available to cemeteries in Dardistown, Newlands, and Palmerstown, he said. But, he pointed out, "to comply with Government guidelines, it is requested that only people who live within a 5km radius of Glasnevin Trust cemeteries visit graves during this phase of restrictions."
On a separate matter Archbishop Martin asked people to assist Trócaire in collecting its Lenten appeal boxes. He noted how “at a time when contributions are down, it is important for Trócaire to access expeditiously monies already collected.”
Trócaire would be contacting parishes suggesting that, by the weekend of Pentecost at the end of May, contents of the boxes could be returned by post, telephone or electronic transfer.