Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois
PASTORAL AND LITURGICAL NORMS: 31 March 2020
Over the last few weeks we have witnessed many people looking out for family, friends and neighbours. For the next two weeks everyone is to stay at home. The following are the pastoral and liturgical norms for all parishes in the Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois from 28th March 2020 until further notice.
Cocooning All who are over 70 and others who have underlying medical conditions are to be cocooned. “Cocooning is a measure to protect those over 70 years or those extremely medically vulnerable by minimising interaction between them and others. This means that these people should not leave their homes” (www.gov.ie). This includes clergy and religious as well as parish staff and volunteers.
Neighbouring priests are available to carry out the pastoral duties of colleagues who are cocooned.
Churches In these times of uncertainty many will wish to visit their local church to pray. Our churches will remain open for prayer each day at times that will be advertised locally, provided door handles and surfaces are cleaned appropriately and regularly.
The celebration of weekend and weekday Mass
- All parishioners are dispensed from the obligation to physically attend Sunday Mass.
- The public celebration of Mass on weekdays and at weekends continues to be suspended for the foreseeable future. First Holy Communion and Confirmation are also postponed until further notice
- Priests continue t o celebrate Mass privately and pray for the needs of their parishioners. Some priests may be able to livestream Mass by means of the internet on Facebook or other platforms
- Mass will be available by webcam at Saint Mel’s Cathedral longfordparish.com each day – 8.00am, 10.00am weekdays, 7.30pm Saturday, and 8.00am, 10.00am, 11.30am and 1.00pm on Sundays
- Weekday Mass is broadcast on RTE News Now at 10.30am
Sacrament of Reconciliation
Many people like to go to confession at Easter. Unfortunately this will not be possible this year. The usual schedule of Confessions will not to take place. In the absence of Confession it is sufficient to confess one’s sins to God, seeking forgiveness and having the intention of going when next possible. God forgives the sins and the person is renewed in heart and soul.
In his homily on March 20th, Pope Francis spoke about fulfilling our Easter duty: “I know that many of you go to confession before Easter… Many will say to me: ‘But Father…I can’t leave the house and I want to make my peace with the Lord. I want Him to embrace me… How can I do that unless I find a priest?’ Do what the catechism says. It’s very clear. If you don’t find a priest to go to confession, speak to God. He’s your Father. Tell Him the truth: ‘Lord. I did this and this and this. Pardon me.’ Ask His forgiveness with all your heart with an act of contrition, and promise Him, ‘afterward I will go to confession.’ You will return to God’s grace immediately. You yourself can draw near, as the catechism teaches us, to God’s forgiveness, without having a priest at hand.”
First Friday Calls I know parishioners look forward to their First Friday Call. Unfortunately First Friday Calls will not to take place in the usual manner. Instead priests will telephone their parishioners and pray with them. Prayer resources have been distributed.
Pastoral Care of the Sick and Sacrament of Anointing The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick usually takes place at a time when people are vulnerable and near death or seriously ill. This Sacrament can take place once the priest has been invited by the family. Priests will use a cotton bud or a sterile glove to administer the Oil of the Sick. The cotton bud, or glove, dipped only once, is to be disposed of by burning. The priest observes correct hand hygiene before and after the anointing. The outside of the oil stock should also be cleaned.
The Celebration of Funerals At this very sad time for families priests will pray for and with the bereaved. Arrangements for Funeral Masses will be made by telephone. Only immediate family members should be in attendance, amounting to no more than 10 people. Those attending are asked to sit at least two metres apart. Concelebration will not take place and Holy Communion will not be distributed.
It may be that Funeral Masses will not take place. Christian burial will take place with the Rite of Committal. The funerals of people who die from Covid 19 will be held following the official guidelines and maintaining the usual safeguards as at any other funeral. Memorial Masses can be held after the pandemic