Local religious, faith groups praying for one favour — clarity

Local religious leaders are hoping there will be clarity by the end of this week in relation to the number of people who can attend various services going into the summer.

It’s after the government has been accused again of issuing mixed messages, leading to confusion.

From today, the number of people allowed to attend a funeral service has been increased from 10 to 25.

Meanwhile, there are reports that from mid-May, up to 50 people may be allowed attend Masses and other religious services.

However, there is no indication at present if this increased figure might then apply to funerals — or to weddings.

A concern about further increasing the numbers for funerals and weddings is the traditional gathering of people afterwards, usually indoors, and the risk that this poses.

At present, only six guests can attend a wedding ceremony; that excludes the two people exchanging vows.

This time of the year is also when Confirmations and First Holy Communions start to take place. Again, a concern here is the gathering of people afterwards.

However, the Catholic Diocese of Elphin has said it finds it difficult to have any confidence that the Sacraments of First Communion and Confirmation can be celebrated before the end of the present school year.

As of now, the diocese has decided to defer Confirmation for the 2021 class until the Autumn.

When to hold First Holy Communions is a matter for parishes but the diocese is encouraging them to consider the same arrangement as for confirmations.

Dioceses throughout the country says that if the circumstances change, the situation can be revisited.

However, in speaking to various religious leaders throughout the region, it’s clear everyone is praying for one thing as they try to plan for the months ahead — and that’s for clarity.

Aontú leader and TD Peadar Toibin is calling for the government to now allow 50 people attend funerals and weddings.