DIRECTIVES ISSUED BY BISHOP McGUCKIAN & NORMS BY THE IRISH EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE
In accordance with the Norms issued today, 12th March 2020, by the Irish Episcopal Conference, and specified by a Directive issued by His Lordship, the Most Reverend Alan McGuckian, SJ, Bishop of Raphoe, taking into account the government injunction relating to attempts to limit the spread of the virus Covid-19, please be advised of the following:
Because Sunday Masses at St. Eunan’s Cathedral far exceed a congregation of 100 people, and since even our daily Masses attract a congregation of around 100 people (and often more), it will not be possible to admit the faithful to the Cathedral for Masses at this time. Masses will continue to be offered at the scheduled times behind closed doors. This includes St. Patrick’s Day.
Parishioners are encouraged to join us via the parish webcam:
· Anniversary Masses and Month’s Minds will be offered as scheduled, but behind closed doors.
· Funeral Masses will be celebrated with the presence of the immediate family of the deceased ONLY. The elderly and those with underlying health conditions should not attend.
· Weddings may be celebrated with a congregation, but couples are reminded it MUST NOT exceed exceeding 100 people. The elderly and those with underlying health conditions should not attend.
· Baptisms will be celebrated with parents, godparents and immediate family members ONLY. The elderly and those with underlying health conditions should not attend.
· Confessions will be offered, but the priests will sit on the sanctuary and not in the confined space of the confessionals.
· Priests, when called to the sick, who are in need of anointing, will follow the precautions set out by the Irish Episcopal Conference.
· The Adoration Chapel will remain closed for the time being as many of our committed adorers, without whom the chapel cannot remain open, are vulnerable to the effects of Covid-19 were they to contract it. To save them from any anxiety or danger, the Adoration Chapel will remain closed. Adoration will take place in the Cathedral subject to the limit of 100 persons – times to be arranged.
· The Cathedral will remain open for prayer, from 7.30am – 9.00am; 11am – 6pm.
· All prayer groups and formation groups and other groups using Cathedral facilities will be suspended for the time being.
This decision is one that is a real sacrifice and suffering for the clergy and parishioners of St. Eunan’s Cathedral. We love the Mass and Jesus in the Most Holy Eucharist. The Mass is what matters! You are asked to pray that this Eucharistic Fast will not endure for long. Pray fervently that the faithful who cannot attend Mass in these weeks will not fall into indifference. Pray that they will understand by these dramatic times the treasure that is the Mass. Pray that they may long to gather as a community of faith again and to receive the Holy Eucharist once again in Holy Communion. Pray that we can gather to celebrate Holy Week and the great Feast of Easter. Above all, pray for a deliverance from this pestilence. Until it passes let us endeavour to build up the “domestic church”, making our homes a centre of family prayer and Gospel values.
Regarding the obligation of Sunday Mass, the principle holds good: ad impossibilitatem nemo tenetur: no one is obliged to the impossible. Our Bishops, who are our chief shepherds, have decreed, by the sacred authority that is theirs, that we are to adopt measures such as these. The faithful can accept them with a quiet conscience. However, we should do everything we can to sanctify the Sabbath Day, by joining the Mass via webcam, TV (EWTN) making a Spiritual Communion, praying the Holy Rosary and the Litany of Loreto, and many other prayers. For families this is an opportunity to teach the children how much we receive at Mass and how central it is to living a faithful Catholic life.
All of the precautions we are undertaking, we do it as an act of love towards our neighbour. It is incumbent upon us all to be public spirited, to act with consideration and prudence at this time, to be courteous and generous, and to be understanding towards others as we go about our normal daily affairs. Let us avoid unnecessary interactions – which, sadly, may include paying our respects at wakes; let us go about our normal affairs but carefully; let us pray for the spiritual and physical welfare of our country and for its conversion; let us trust God in all things.