Letter to all Dublin parishes on 9th February 2021
These continue to be strange days for us all. The pandemic continues to dominate the news cycles and, in fact, large parts of our lives. We are all doing what we can to contain its spread. I thank you, most sincerely, for all that you have done in the parishes to continue to journey with people through a variety of means – for, now, the best part of this past year.
Naturally questions have arisen about the celebration of Sacraments in our parishes. I can understand the uncertainty that has arisen – it is hard, almost impossible, to plan anything even into the future. Therefore, so as to avoid doubt, and so that people can plan accordingly, I am writing to note that there be no celebration of Confirmations in the Diocese before Easter.
This time will allow, I hope, the infection number to come down, our schools to reopen, proper parish-based programmes of preparation for the sacraments to be completed, and our churches to be once again open to public worship. At that time our priority will be to celebrate the sacraments for those children for whom that could not happen last year, then candidates for Confirmation currently in sixth class, and then children for First Holy Communion.
I know much work has been undertaken by the Sacraments Implementation Group here in Dublin to engage with the various stakeholders exploring what is possible, even in these pandemic times, in terms of preparing for and celebrating effectively the sacraments. I thank them for that vital work. Preparing Children, and families, is essential: the fruitfulness of the celebrations demands it, and our future depends on it.
Smaller, more intimate celebrations can be enriching too. I welcome, then, the fact that parishes will explore locally what is possible, and always in accord with the NPHET guidelines of that time.
With prayerful good wishes,
Archbishop of Dublin