In his homily for Trinity Sunday, Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland, appealed for young volunteers to assist churches when Masses resume in Ireland.
The appeal follows Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s announcement that the Irish Government will “accelerate” its plan to lift lockdown restrictions, including on churches, provided that infection rates remain low during the second phase of the recovery which begins this week. Masses in Ireland are now slated to resume on June 29, over two weeks earlier than previously planned.
The devolved administration in Northern Ireland, meanwhile, allowed churches to reopen last month but no date has been announced for the return of public services in churches, with the Northern Irish Catholic bishops expected to announce some details later today around future safety guidelines for Masses.
Archbishop Martin, in his homily, warned that church restrictions will be lifted “slowly and tentatively at first”, and noted that many parishioners and priests will need to continue “cocooning” themselves during the early stages of deconfinement. “Because of recommendations on physical distancing and hygiene, it will be necessary to reduce considerably the number of people who can gather inside church buildings at any one time,” he said.
Archbishop Martin also noted that some liturgical customs will have to be “adjusted to take account of health recommendations” and that the Church will need more “volunteers to assist with cleaning, stewarding, reading, ministering the Eucharist and other roles”. He specified that he was making this call to the “younger members of our parishes” because these were roles that “some of our older members may be unable to fulfil at this time.”
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