This week’s announcement from the government lifting the restrictions on numbers in churches is welcome news indeed. I for one hope never to return to celebrating the Eucharist in an empty church building while speaking to a disembodied absent congregation on the webcam. Recent weeks have eased us back to normality with the 50% of capacity rule in operation.
As the Taoiseach has reminded us, we are not out of the woods just yet. Covid-19 is still a stalker that continues to pose a threat and we must proceed with caution. We ask those attending church to continue to use the hand sanitisers provided in the porches and to continue also to wear a face mask in the church building. These simple precautions demonstrate an awareness of our responsibility towards others, particularly those who may be immuno-compromised.
As I mentioned in a previous article, we have recommenced passing the collection bags in St. Mary’s, as the latest information suggests that the risk of contracting the virus from surfaces is miniscule, since the virus is airborne. The real dangers lie in exhalation, coughing and sneezing.
If anybody has reservations about handling the bags could we suggest bringing a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you to Mass and using it after you have passed the bag along.
Reach for your thermals
The experts have identified ventilation as a vital necessity in enclosed spaces, and for that reason church windows and doors will be opened while the church is in use, to maximise the airflow. This may mean that the building will be quite cold, but unfortunately that’s the price we have to pay for ensuring safety for all. Please bear with us and understand that it’s not because we’re too tight to put the heating on.
Winter woollies may soon be required.
A word of sincere thanks
We really must say a word of appreciation to the many generous people who served as stewards throughout the past 18 months, without them we could not have opened at all. Their vigilance and dedication in regulating the numbers and sanitizing the church was an invaluable service to the parish community.
In the early days many of them were in the firing line when the maximum number had been reached and people had to be refused entry, these sometimes vented their anger at the unfortunate stewards. Thankfully there were no black eyes!
We hope to gather the volunteers in the not too distant future for a cuppa and a ‘thank you’ in person. They are now all made redundant!
St. Mary’s Lucan