Pending advice from NEPHED we hope in the near future it will be deemed safe and appropriate to have congregations present with the suitable guidelines.
However, we have not yet received a date for reopening.
Some dioceses have asked schools not to organise anything before the end of June. The logic behind this is twofold – that 80% of the population will be vaccinated by then, DV and also at that stage schools will be on holidays and there would be less chance of the virus being spread following a return to school. While it may be safe to hold the celebrations in a socially distant manner in the Churches the big concern is what might happen in the gatherings after and even though that doesn’t concern us we don’t want to be contributing to what might lead to that. One province has proposed that Sacraments be postponed until September.
I am therefore asking parishes and schools to wait until further notice to see what enfolds.
Apart from all the above – it is important not to rush into dates in order to give time to prepare adequately. Schools understandably have not been able to devote as much time as in previous years to this important work. Our religious advisors and pastoral planning are more than willing to help with some resources for parishes who might like to avail of that.
In terms of immediate preparation – obviously Confirmation would need to take priority, seeing that students will be in another school system from September.
I have already asked parishes not to be holding first reconciliation services without parents being present and I would also ask parishes not be holding enrolment ceremonies without parents present. This is totally contrary to all that we have been working so hard to achieve over the past several years.
Many thanks for your patience and understanding at this challenging and difficult time.
✠ Fintan Monahan