In an opinion article in today’s Irish Independent, Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin has announced that all Sacraments will go ahead, starting over the coming days, as scheduled in the diocese of Elphin, despite Government advice to postpone until further notice. At the outset of his article, Bishop Doran outlined his appreciation for the tremendous work that has been done by healthcare workers and those involved in the vaccination programme.

Bishop Doran highlighted the significant spiritual and practical preparation on the part of families and of parish communities that is involved in the celebrations of First Communion and Confirmation. He emphasised, “The rather cavalier manner in which we are being asked to just postpone them until further notice – while the rest of society is being encouraged to reopen – demonstrates very little understanding or respect for the meaning of Church and sacrament, especially in the lives of young families.

“In the final analysis, this is advice by Government rather than regulation.”

Bishop Doran continued, “On this occasion, in consultation with senior priests of the diocese, I have decided that the Sacraments will be celebrated as scheduled for families who wish to proceed. They will comply with all the public health regulations for religious services. The mission of the Church cannot be put on hold indefinitely.”

At the conclusion of his article, Bishop Doran said, “I am asking two things of families whose children will shortly celebrate the Sacraments. Firstly, I ask that you help your children to prepare as much as possible as they get ready to receive Jesus in Holy Communion, and to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit for candidates of Confirmation. Make that the focus. Secondly, if you choose to have a family celebration afterwards, please keep it simple and pay full attention to the public health guidelines which will help to protect you and your families and friends.”

The Diocese of Elphin covers half of Sligo, most of Roscommon, and parts of east-Galway and Westmeath.

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