CHURCHES in Fermanagh have taken the decision to cancel Mass and normal church services.
The announcement that the Catholic Diocese of Clogher was suspending public Masses came toward the end of last week – the first time Masses have been cancelled in living memory.
Bishop Larry Duffy said, “Having consulted with priests and lay people across the diocese, and mindful of public health and our capability or otherwise to maintain a congregation below 100, I am suspending all public Masses in the Diocese of Clogher with immediate effect.” It was added that the health and safety of people, especially the most vulnerable, is paramount.
Parishioners were notified that they were dispensed from the obligation to physically attend Mass until further notice.
Guidance was issued encouraging people to participate in Sunday Mass and Mass on week days via radio, television or webcams that are in operation in many of the churches. Bishop Larry Duffy also encouraged priests to celebrate Mass privately and to remember the needs of all their parishioners at this time, especially all those who are vulnerable and who may be infected by the Coronavirus.
Yesterday afternoon a statement issued by the Church of Ireland Clogher Diocese outlining that it too would cancel normal church services until further notice.
Bishop John McDowell said that government and health authorities had issued helpful guidance but said they could not be expected to know every detail of local circumstances.
In light of developing circumstances the Church of Ireland Bishop of Clogher added, “We are cancelling all normal church services as of today (17th March) until further notice.
This applies to mid-week services too. Funerals will of course continue to take place, but will need to strictly adhere to the public health advice on hygiene and physical distancing.”
It was added that where possible churches would remain open at certain times for private prayer, provided the public health guidelines could be met.
The Church of Ireland added that resources for worshipping from home would be made available online shortly.
The Catholic church pointed parishioners to a list of Masses, together with times of Masses and links to them which will be available soon on the Diocesan Website – www.clogherdiocese.ie.
Posted: 7:39 pm March 21, 2020