A number of Bishops are telling their parishes to flout Government guidelines and press ahead with Confirmations and Communions as early as next month.
As the Irish Examiner reports, yesterday the Taoiseach agreed the restrictions were difficult but urged the Church not to press ahead with any unilateral breaches of the regulations.
In the Diocese of Waterford and Lismore the ceremonies are expected to begin from Mid-August.
RTÉ quoted a statement from its Bishop Alphonsius Cullinane as saying that after seeing large crowds gathering at “all kinds of venues” lately, he believes there is “no valid reason for the further postponement of the sacraments for our children.”
In Meath, Bishop Tom Deenihan has written to all the priests in his Diocese instructing them to make arrangements for Confirmations.
In Navan, parents have been given allocated times for the ceremonies in August. Over 380 children will receive the Sacrament in nine shortened ceremonies in the town’s two Churches between 10.30am and 7pm on August 18th.
“All hands will be on deck,” said parish administrator Fr Declan Hurley who confirmed that Bishop Deenihan and possibly retired Bishop of Meath Rev Michael Smith would be officiating.
“Bishop Deenihan wrote to all the Priests in the Diocese informing them of his decision to recommence Confirmations and since we posted the dates on our website, the feedback from parents has been universally positive.
“We have always followed all Government advice, but it seems somewhat illogical that we can accommodate large numbers in our Churches for Masses, weddings and funerals but can’t do the same for Communions and Confirmations.
“In light of other sectors reopening and the increase of numbers allowed at weddings to 100 from Monday, we all feel it’s the right thing to do.”
He said that if they do not hold confirmations in August, most of the children will have started post-primary school, and they would have to hold the ceremonies over a number of evenings later in the year.
“We will still hold the Confirmations in accordance with public health requirements.
“There will only be 50 people per pod which includes the child, their sponsor, and two others.
“The time frame of the ceremony will be shorter as there will not be Mass on the day.
“Everyone will be asked to continue to wear masks and socially distance and as we will be following all public health guidelines, we would ask parents to do the same for their celebrations.”
He said there is an “important constitutional principle at play here.”