Statement of Archbishop Martin, Thursday, June 4th
Preparation for Reopening of places for public worship: There is a willingness on the part of public authorities to examine the possibility of bringing forward the opening of Churches for public worship into Phase 3 of the Roadmap, which would begin on 29 June.
Naturally, any decision would have to take place closer to that date and would have to take into consideration the overall situation of the virus at that time.
In any case, it is important that we progress the preparation of our Churches so that if possible we are fully ready towards the end of June.
The Irish Bishops will meet on Monday next and will issue clear guidelines for all dioceses. Each parish should be building up a core group that can monitor preparation. It might be an opportunity to ask young people to volunteer.
It is important that in this situation we should be careful to observe the current norms and show that we will be in a position to implement and respect norms should the timeline change. Jumping the queue can set everyone back.
The advice that is given in other countries is: be ready by the date; if you are not fully ready, wait until you are ready; if it is not possible to apply the guidelines, remain closed.
It may not be possible for all Churches to open and provide the supervision needed. Initially many people will be fearful of attending indoor gatherings.
Watching televised Masses from other European countries in these days, I realise that Mass with social distancing can be a rather bleak experience, not the joyful celebration that we might desire. But is an important first stage.