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Calls for younger Catholic volunteers to help start Masses in churches again

Archbishop Eamon Martin said that the reopening of churches will happen “slowly and tentatively”.

Father Peter Byrne in the Church of the Ascension at Cedar Rd, Balally in Dublin saying online mass in the empty church.
Father Peter Byrne in the Church of the Ascension at Cedar Rd, Balally in Dublin saying online mass in the empty church.
Image: RollingNews.ie

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH is asking young volunteers to help with church services, as it aims to begin giving Mass in churches again during ‘Phase Two Plus’.

In statement released today, Archbishop Eamon Martin said that some priests were cocooning, and that other worshippers would perhaps still choose to still watch Mass broadcast by webcam from their homes.

The Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland said that to return to worship in churches, volunteers would be needed to help with cleaning, reading and ministering the Eucharist.

I also call on the younger members of our parishes to step forward in helping us manage the transition back to full parish life and celebration of the sacraments.
We will need volunteers to assist with cleaning, stewarding, reading, ministering the Eucharist and other roles and responsibilities which some of our older members may be unable to fulfil at this time.

The Archbishop said that the reopening of churches will happen “slowly and tentatively”.

Some people may prefer, for a while, to continue to join us virtually from home over webcam, because of their vulnerability or because of nervousness about going out immediately into gatherings.
Some of our priests are cocooning and will be unable, at first, to provide their usual services and ministry.

“Because of recommendations on physical distancing and hygiene, it will be necessary to reduce considerably the number of people who can gather inside church buildings at any one time.”

On Friday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced an “accelerated” roadmap for reopening Ireland, and that from tomorrow, Ireland would enter ‘Phase Two Plus’. 

As part of this, up to 25 immediate family and close friends will now be able to attend funeral services for loved ones. Only a maximum of 10 people were permitted to attend a funeral service since mid-March.

From Phase Three on 29 June, people will be able to attend religious services, Leo Varadkar said: “We also want places of worship to resume services again, with precautions.”

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The Archbishop said: 

 Of course we know that we must all remain responsible in helping to keep the virus suppressed by practising physical distancing, good hygiene and by continuing to respect health guidelines on movement and gatherings.

“Like everyone, I am so grateful and thank God for our healthcare workers and their backup teams who have tirelessly and selflessly served us, and witnessed so powerfully to the tenderness and compassion of God.

“We are deeply conscious that the virus has devastated the economy, destroyed livelihoods and brought untold grief to those families whose loved ones have died, in many cases without the usual physical closeness that we would have wanted to provide for them,” he said.

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