In conversations with priests and people around the Diocese of Killaloe in recent weeks many have expressed their serious health and safety concerns to me regarding the number of people gathering after funeral ceremonies in church and also at burials in cemeteries.
Whilst it is such a positive and deeply ingrained aspect of our culture in Ireland to gather and offer condolences to the bereaved family, unfortunately due to the highly contagious nature of the coronavirus it is still not safe to do so. While being sensitive to the needs of mourners for care and compassion at such a difficult time, many priests have expressed deep concern for the wellbeing of parishioners gathering in such a manner and I share that concern.
Since the start of the pandemic, at funeral Masses, mourners and families have been most understanding and patient about the public health limit of only ten people permitted to gather for such ceremonies. Clergy, parish personnel and undertakers have undertaken Trojan work with people in the context of these difficult, stressful and sad circumstances, and I commend them for that. However, it is in the gatherings of genuine and well-meaning people, before and after the funeral Mass, when such occasions, that raise concern, can occur.
People by and large are wearing masks at these open-air gatherings, but some choose not to. I appeal to people to take whatever precautions possible to maximise the safety of all.
I earnestly appeal to people to find alternative ways to offer condolences at this time of pandemic, and for the foreseeable future until vaccination has all of us in a better place. Perhaps a prayer, a card, a phone call, a letter, a text, a message on social media, lighting a candle at home or in your local church, would be a safer way to offer consolation with a view to offering personal support in the near future.
My prayers are continually for those who have been affected through illness and bereavement since the pandemic began. Let us all look out for each other, and together we will get through this difficult time.
A public briefing will take place on Monday 15 March at 7.30pm to inform the Parish Community of plans for the renovation of St John the Baptist Church in Tyone. The briefing will take place on Zoom. A link to the webinar will appear here on the News page on Monday afternoon. All are welcome!
During the past year, our parish, like so many other organisations and individuals in society, has come under enormous financial pressure. The rolling lockdowns have eliminated one of our key sources of income, namely the weekend pouch collections. This poses a challenge to our ability to meet ongoing financial responsibilities such as heating, electricity, insurance, essential maintenance, the parish webcam, newsletter printing, subsistence, and the other unexpected costs of life. We are only too well aware that much greater levels of suffering are being experienced all across society and in Nenagh Parish we remain ready to assist in any way we can, as we have done all year.
To help assist those parishioners who might still wish to contribute on a weekly basis to Nenagh Parish in lieu of the (currently absent) pouch collection, we have installed a secure new Tap to Donate facility in the rear of St Mary of the Rosary Church. This is a secure and user-friendly option provided by payzone. At present, the only available option is a five euro contribution but we have requested a two euro machine, as soon as it becomes available.
We thank you for your generosity and understanding.
Blessed Ashes and a Prayer Card are available for collection at the entrances to both churches ahead of Ash Wednesday 2021. Please take ashes for your own household as well as a pouch for those who may be staying indoors right now.