Local bishops have expressed concern of a ban on public worship by the Government ahead of Holy Week and Easter saying that this prohibition of public worship is “particularly painful”.
In a Pastoral Message from the Bishops of the six dioceses of the Province of the Archdiocese of Tuam issued earlier today, they outline concerns with the Government’s plan for recovery from Covid-19 in the months ahead.
“We recognise the need for prudence and caution at the present time, in the light of the terrible loss of life in January and February, and we accept absolutely that now is not the time for a major reopening of society. We have carefully considered the five stage plan “Covid-19 Resilience and Recovery 2021: The Path Ahead”, published by the Government last week. “There are two things in this plan which we find very difficult to support. One of those is the fact that at level 5, all funerals are still limited to 10 people. We believe that a modest increase to 25 would, without compromising safety, bring much consolation to grieving families.
“Our second concern is that public worship is still excluded even at level 3. This would suggest that we may not have the opportunity to celebrate Mass together for months to come. It ignores the important contribution of communal worship to the mental and spiritual well-being of people of faith. The fundamental importance of Holy Week and Easter for all Christians, makes the prohibition of public worship particularly painful. While, as Christians, we are obliged to obey these regulations, we believe that it is our responsibility as Church leaders to make the case for change. We will continue to make fair and reasonable representation and we encourage you to do likewise,” the Bishops stated.
The message was signed by Michael Neary (Archbishop of Tuam) , Brendan Kelly (Bishop of Galway), John Fleming (Bishop of Killala), Kevin Doran (Bishop of Elphin), Michael Duignan (Bishop of Clonfert), Paul Dempsey (Bishop of Achonry).