Public Masses resumed in Ireland on Monday 29 July after a 15 week interregnum. At churches throughout the country parishioners were grateful and uplifted to be able to attend mass again.
Despite assurances by outgoing Taoiseach Leo Varadkar on Thursday, the fifty person limit on worship remains in place, something that is a source of frustration and dismay to clergy and congregations alike.
In his homily at mass in the Cathedral in Armagh, Archbishop Eamon Martin said, “
“I thank God today for all those who brought Christianity to life over the past fifteen weeks by their generous witness and example.
“Our healthcare workers and their backup teams surpassed themselves, tirelessly serving the sick and witnessing powerfully to the tenderness and compassion of God. Many of you, our parishioners volunteered their services, carrying groceries and other essentials to those living alone, or reaching out with love and encouragement to the sick and housebound.Sadly the Covid19 virus has already devastated the economy, destroyed livelihoods and brought untold grief to those families whose loved ones have died.
“That is why we must continue in the coming weeks and months to be, like Peter and Paul – people of prayer, faith and witness.We must all remain responsible in keeping the virus suppressed by practising safe physical distancing, good hygiene and by continuing to respect health guidelines on movement and gatherings.”
Meanwhile in the UK, the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland said the government’s decision to not allow public worship until July 23 at the earliest is “both disappointing and perplexing.” England will allow public worship on July 4.
Churches in Scotland were opened for private prayer on June 22, a week after churches in England.
“The Scottish Government’s decision not to allow places of worship to open for communal worship until July 23 at the earliest, while allowing pubs, restaurants and cinemas to reopen on July 15 is both disappointing and perplexing,” the Scottish bishops said in a statement.