Message from Bishop Francis Duffy on Coronavirus

    1. The Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois
      Church arrangements during the Covid-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic
      God is with his people in good times and bad. Like believers in every age we say: ‘If I
      should walk in The Valley of Darkness no evil would I fear for You are there’. Care of the
      vulnerable is at the heart of our pastoral ministry. In this pandemic all are at risk and so
      extraordinary measures have to be taken to limit the spread of the virus. We ask the Lord to
      be very close to us in these times and our Lady to protect us.
      The following are the arrangements for liturgies and church events in the Diocese of Ardagh
      and Clonmacnois during the period 13th March to 29th March 2020. Churches
      In these times of uncertainty many will wish to visit their local church. Our churches will
      remain open for prayer each day at times that will be advertised locally.
      The celebration of weekend and weekday Mass
      Because of the requirement that indoor gatherings of more than 100 people be avoided, and
      the difficulties that may arise in achieving this, and always mindful of public safety and those
      with underlying medical conditions, the following arrangements are to be followed in all
    2. • Because of the current emergency situation, all parishioners are dispensed from the
      obligation to physically attend Sunday Mass.
      • During the period 13th March to 29th March the public celebration of Mass on
      weekdays and at weekends is suspended with immediate effect. This includes Saint
      Patrick’s Day.
      • Be assured that priests will continue to celebrate Mass privately and pray for the
      needs of their parishioners.
      • Mass will be available by webcam at Saint Mel’s Cathedral
      each day – 8.00am, 10.00am, 1.05 weekdays, 7.30pm Saturday, and 8.00am,
      10.00am, 11.30am and 1.00pm on Sundays.
      You are encouraged to continue to pray at home with your family and especially for those
      who are sick and those who care for them.
      The Celebration of Baptism
      Baptisms will continue to take place provided the congregation is less than 100.
      A single jug of fresh water will be blessed and will not be reused.
      Signing of the cross will take place without touch and the sacred oils will be administered
      with the use of cotton buds.
      The Celebration of Funerals
      Funeral Masses will be celebrated in church with only immediate family members in
      attendance and no more than 100 present. Those attending are asked to sit at least two metres apart. (
      Sympathising should not involve handshaking or physical touch, hand hygiene measures will be maintained throughout the ceremony.

      The celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation is suspended for the time being.
      The Sacrament of Marriage:
      The Sacrament of Marriage may be celebrated in church. Representatives of the couple are
      asked to ensure that no more than 100 people are in attendance in the church. People are
      asked to sit at least two metres apart.
      Hand hygiene measures in place. No exchange of the sign of peace by means of a handshake
      Pastoral Care of the Sick and Sacrament of Anointing
      Great care will be taken with the administration of this reassuring sacrament.
      Priests will use a cotton bud or a sterile glove to administer the oil of the sick.
      Spiritual Communion
      The tradition of Spiritual Communion, whereby those who cannot directly receive the
      Eucharist, can by their desire to receive it, also gain its benefits. Although unable to receive
      the Eucharist in person we are not separated from it, but drawn into a deeper appreciation and
      desire for its graces, which continue to be poured out to each of us.
      “My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the most Blessed Sacrament. I love You above
      all things and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot now receive You
      sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You have already
      come, and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen”.
      Saint Francis
      These arrangements are subject to review. Any change will be communicated to parishes and will be advertised on the diocesan website