By Vatican News
The Archbishops of Armagh and Dublin, Ireland have welcomed the news that churches will resume services from June 29.
Places of public worship were closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic in March, but due to a decrease in the number of infections, Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar announced on Friday that churches could re-open with social distancing measures in place.
In a statement, the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, Eamon Martin welcomed the news. “Like other priests in Ireland, I am greatly looking forward to celebrating public Mass and the Sacraments soon with our congregations.”
Praise for dioceses and parishes
The Archbishop commended dioceses and parishes for undertaking preparations to facilitate the safe return of the faithful to public worship in a measured way. He also praised them for “reaching out to parishioners in very difficult circumstances during the lockdown which included the broadcasting of Mass and other prayer opportunities by webcam.”
The Primate noted that the pandemic “brought great suffering to many families whose loved ones have died because of the virus.” He also said, that in many cases it was not possible for family members to be by their side, or to be present at their funeral. As the restrictions ease, the Archbishop underlined that “the Church will continue to assist those in the greatest need.”
Meanwhile, speaking about the resumption of Church services, the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin said, "this will be a consolation to many people and preparations will be intensified to ensure this can be done safely.”
Next week, the Bishops of Ireland will meet for the first time over video-call for their Summer General Meeting. They are expected to finalise their framework document for the return to Mass and the Sacraments which will offer best practice to parishes as they begin to fully reopen community life again.