Irish church leaders invite all to home-based prayer on Sunday

No public holy week or Easter ceremonies in cathedrals or churches due to coronavirus

The leaders of Ireland's main churches have invited people to take part in prayers throughout the island on Palm Sunday, 3pm-4pm. They have also paid tribute to everyone in the health and social care services and those on the front line, for their courage in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

Together with other denominations and Christian organisations, president of the Irish Council of Churches Rev Brian Anderson; Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Rev William Henry; Church of Ireland Archbishop-elect of Armagh, Rt Rev John McDowell; Catholic Primate Archbishop Eamon Martin; and president of the Methodist Church in Ireland Rev Sam McGuffin made their call to prayer following a video conference.

“To all who are suffering, have lost loved ones and are anxious in these unprecedented days, we pray that you may find strength and comfort in the loving presence of Christ, who promised to be with his people always,” they said.

“As church leaders, we join together in calling all our people to pray. As we begin the journey through Holy Week towards Good Friday and Easter, we invite all Christians from across the whole church to join in prayer on Palm Sunday, remembering that we should only gather to pray within our own households, in line with government advice,” they said.


All are welcome

Their invitation was extended to all “even if they have never prayed before”, they said.

Meanwhile, Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop Michael Neary of Tuam, Bishop of Ferns Denis Brennan, Bishop of Galway Brendan Kelly and Bishop of Killala John Fleming will all be absent from Holy Week and Easter ceremonies in their respective dioceses as each is over 70 and abiding by Government recommendations to stay at home.

There will no public celebration of holy week and Easter liturgies in churches next week due to Government regulations. Private celebrations of liturgies will be available via parish/diocesan video feeds as well as on RTÉ.

Ceremonies at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin can be seen via webcam. The only people present at services there over the coming week to Easter will be Archbishop Michael Jackson, Dean Rev Dermot Dunne, Dean's Vicar Rev Abigail Sines and Archdeacon of Dublin David Pierpoint.

St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin has opened a digital book of condolences to assist people bereaved as a result of Covid-19. It is available to all at and is available to all.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times