St Agnes Parish Bulletin 7th June 2020

Parish News..

Dear Parishioner

We hope you and your family are keeping well in these challenging times. Be assured of our prayers and we are looking forward to meeting you again, when we are allowed to gather safely in public.

We would like to thank the many parishioners who have continued to support the work of the Parish, in numerous ways, during this difficult time. Many parishioners have been involved in supporting those who have been shielding which has brought huge consolation. The lockdown has not been easy for any of us and sacrifices have been made for the health and safety of all.

As part of Step One of the NI Executive’s five-step “Pathway to recovery” plan our church opened for private individual prayer following a full risk assessment. It has brought tremendous consolation to many people throughout the Parish. It may, however, be some time before we can gather together for the celebration of Mass as we adhere to current government policy.  We would also like to ask for your continued co-operation. It is also in everyone’s best interests to remind you that all visitors to our church must strictly observe the social distancing regulations and good hygienic practices outlined at the church entrance from the carpark. In the exercise of personal responsibility, anyone who is unwell or exhibits symptoms of Covid-19 should not visit the church.

St Agnes’s Church is open
from 10.30am until 2pm daily.

You will know, and not be surprised to learn, that parish income during the period has taken a significant drop, which is understandable. Our Parish, like others across the Diocese and across Ireland, needs to make plans to recover from a steep decline in income since the start of 2020. Like households and families, we need to continue to meet essential expenditure.

Due to the current situation the Parish envelopes will be available as soon as it is safe … please consider an online direct debit in the interim … (please give Kate a call for this service 07850685870).   Alternatively, you can continue to put your contributions into ordinary envelopes and keep until we can receive them all in the weekly plate,  or  you could post them in through  Fr Mc Glynn’s letter box if you wish.  Or you could use the DONATE button at the top right-hand corner of this page.

Thank you for your continued support for the Parish and your generosity to the many Priests who have passed through the Parish over the years. As we face the future together, we know there will be challenges and difficulties. There will be demands made on us all in planning for the future of our Parish, the Pastoral Community, the support of Priests and the Diocese.

We do hope this information is of help and we will keep you updated with developments as information becomes available. As you know the situation is changing from week to week so what is set out above will be kept under constant review.

Remember in Prayer…

Recently Deceased. Angela Burns, Elizabeth ( Bessie) O’ Neill, Marie Rea

Those whose anniversaries occur at this time:Edward Mc Cann, Sean Prenter, John & Margaret Laverty, Mona Cooney, Liam Byrne & Elsie Gillespie

Funeral Services and Requiem Masses

Having consulted widely with diocesan clergy, Bishop Noel Treanor has determined that it is the appropriate time to reintroduce the practice of Funeral services and Requiem Masses. With immediate effect, Funeral services or Requiem Masses will now be resumed across the
Diocese of Down and Connor, while observing the limits on the numbers attending to 10
mourners and observing social distancing regulations.
In reintroducing Funeral services and Requiem Masses across the diocese, it is also
necessary to safeguard the health and wellbeing of clergy, especially those who are shielding
and those who need to self-isolate. This might require that the Funeral service or Requiem
Mass to be celebrated within a neighbouring parish other than that of the deceased.

More details of the Bishop’s notification and references to the provision for Church Wedding Ceremonies may be found by scrolling down this page.

Down and Connor Knock Virtual Pilgrimage

We welcome you to join us for our Diocesan Knock Virtual Pilgrimage on Sunday
14 th June 2020. The ceremonies will be streamed live on the shrine
website www.knockshrine.ie and on Knock Shrine Facebook page. The
programme will commence with Rosary at 2.30pm and Mass will be celebrated
at 3pm by Fr. Richard Gibbons, Rector of the Shrine.
Bishop Treanor will give a short message of welcome to the people of our Diocese by means of a video, which will be shown at 2.55pm.
You are invited to place a Petition by visiting the Knock Shrine Website and all
the Petitions will be before the Altar during the Mass. You may also request
that a candle be lit for your intentions.
Daily Masses continue to be broadcast on the Knock Shrine website and Facebook page at 12 Noon and 7.30pm, with Rosary at 7pm. Sunday Mass is broadcast at 12 noon, Rosary at 2.30pm and Mass at 3pm. For further details, please see www.knockshrine.ie.

 

Statement from Bishop Noel Treanor
Diocese of Down and Connor
Thursday 4th June 2020

On the 25th March 2020, I issued a pastoral letter outlining measures to be taken in response
to Covid-19. These measures, which included the closing of churches, restricted the
celebration of funerals and limited the pastoral services of the diocese, have been acutely
experienced by all.
The aim of those measures was to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, to save lives
and to enable us all to protect each other.
Reintroduction of Funeral services and Requiem Masses
There is no doubt that the greatest cross has been carried by those who have lost loved ones
over these past few months as they have been unable to observe the rites and rituals
associated with mourning that are so much part of our faith and culture. Conscious of the huge
sacrifice many families have experienced and heroically made since the introduction of
restrictions, we continue to hold them and their deceased loved ones in prayer.
On 28th March, the NI Executive enacted legislation which introduced restrictions on
individuals’ daily lives and on the pastoral activities of all church bodies. Exceptional provision
was made in legislation for the celebration of funerals within churches with no more than ten
persons present.
Having consulted widely, it was decided that the most prudent practice for the safety of all was
to maintain the restrictions already placed upon the celebration of funerals within this Diocese.
I resolved at the time to reintroduce the practice of Funeral services and Requiem Masses
within churches when it could be deemed appropriate to do so.
Now, with the gradual and welcome decline in the number of Covid-19 related deaths, reduced
levels of viral transmission within the community, having consulted widely with diocesan clergy
and with the appropriate sanitary measures provided for within our churches, I have
determined that it is the appropriate time to reintroduce the practice of Funeral services and
Requiem Masses across the Diocese of Down and Connor.
With immediate effect, Funeral services or Requiem Masses will now be resumed across the
Diocese of Down and Connor, while observing the limits on the numbers attending to 10
mourners and observing social distancing regulations.
In reintroducing Funeral services and Requiem Masses across the diocese, it is also
necessary to safeguard the health and wellbeing of clergy, especially those who are shielding
and those who need to self-isolate. This might require that the Funeral service or Requiem
Mass to be celebrated within a neighbouring parish other than that of the deceased.

I pray that, in the near future, the time will come when we will be able to honour and pray for
all who have died and were laid to rest without the full participation of those who have
shouldered the pain of grief and loss in such unprecedented circumstances.
Provision for Church Wedding Ceremonies
From Monday 8th June, the NI Executive has further extended the exceptional provisions for
marriage to include outdoor venues with small numbers and with social distancing measures
in place.
Numerous couples, who had been planning their weddings, have had to postpone the
celebration of their Marriage, unable to gather and commit their lives together in the presence
of families, friends and the Church community.
The Diocese of Down and Connor has considered how it may facilitate the Sacrament of
Marriage within the current legislative framework and in accordance with sacramental practice
and Church norms. The diocese will circulate guidance and directives to parishes.
Exercising Personal and Community Responsibility
The tentative steps taken recently on the pathway to recovery have been achieved by the
sacrifice of all in the common pursuit of health and safety. With a strong sense of duty,
community responsibility and, above all, care for each other, many people have exercised
personal responsibility in willingly limiting their freedom to protect their families, themselves
and wider society. In protecting those around us, we protect ourselves and those we love.
For the continuing good of all we must continue to remain clear sighted and vigilant to the real
and present threat of the coronavirus.
In the interests of public safety, may we all continue to follow the public health advice and
guidance and maintain social distancing at all times. The responsible exercise of our personal
freedom in the choices we make in the weeks and months ahead is vital for our own health
and for the health of our families, neighbours and friends.
We continue to pray for those in positions of leadership that they may be inspired in making
mature, measured and discerning decisions as they try to balance a desire to return to a new
normality whilst maintaining and ensuring a capacity to respond to the current pandemic which
remains a threat, especially to the most vulnerable within the community.

+Noel Treanor
Bishop of Down and Connor

 

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