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Wednesday 27 September 2023 Dublin: 12°C
Shutterstock/Stephen Barnes File photo.
# Coronavirus
Parishioners urged to check if their Sunday mass is being streamed online as Church adheres to ban on gatherings
Church leaders said that masses would be cancelled in response to the public health crisis caused by coronavirus.

SUNDAY MASSES ACROSS the country will not take place as normal today, as church leaders acknowledge the public health risk due to the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak.

“It is to help lessen the risk of the spreading the disease, particularly among our older citizens and those who are unwell,” the Bishop of Limerick said earlier this week.

However, massgoers are being urged to check if their local church is broadcasting its service or streaming it live online if they don’t wish to miss the Sunday service.

The government ordered a ban on mass gatherings of over 100 people if being held indoors. In light of this advice, a huge number of Sunday masses across the country have been cancelled.

Across other faiths, the ban is also being observed with Islamic Friday prayers all suspended until further notice.

Congregations are being urged to consult their parish website about cancelled masses.

In the Dublin archdiocese, masses are cancelled but many churches are streaming services live.

The Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy on Friday confirmed that Sunday masses in that diocese would be cancelled for the next three Sundays.

He said that all non-essential pastoral gatherings and meetings, such as formal gatherings, retreats and seminars had been cancelled. All confirmations are also postponed until further notice.

Leahy said: “ Thankfully, through technology, there are options online for people to get their Mass at home. Some parishes have webcam or radio facilities.”

The bishop will celebrate mass and people can find a stream of it online.

In Waterford, masses throughout the diocese aren’t cancelled but they won’t be open to the congregation to attend. Local radio station WLRFM will broadcast Sunday Mass at 9am.

In a statement from Bishop Cullinan and the clergy of Waterford and Lismore, it said: “I wish to draw a distinction between spiritual health and physical health. By congregating large numbers of people in a church there may well be a threat of infection and harm to physical health.”

In the diocese of Raphoe, all masses with congregations have been cancelled until 29 March 2020. Confirmations are also cancelled until further notice. Where funerals, weddings and baptisms take place, they are asking that only immediate family attend.

Masses are also cancelled in the archidiocese of Tuam. In a statement, the Association of Catholic Priests said it supports the measures taken in face of the unprecedented crisis.

The archdiocese of Cashel and Emly have also cancelled services until further notice.

The ban on mass gatherings will remain in effect until 29 March, although it’s understood such measures could be extended.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said on Thursday that the measures were “unprecedented”, while Tánaiste Simon Coveney said that “never before has such drastic action been taken in the face of a public health threat”.

Varadkar added that there will be more cases and more people will get sick and “unfortunately we must face the tragic reality that some people will die”.

All authorities and health officials said the measures were coming into effect on the strongest possible advice.

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