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Archbishop warns priests not to jump the gun on reopening churches for Mass

    

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Mass gathering: Fr Dermot Leycock says numbers attending Mass at his Blackrock church grew when word got out. PHOTO: COLIN O’RIORDAN

Mass gathering: Fr Dermot Leycock says numbers attending Mass at his Blackrock church grew when word got out. PHOTO: COLIN O’RIORDAN

Mass gathering: Fr Dermot Leycock says numbers attending Mass at his Blackrock church grew when word got out. PHOTO: COLIN O’RIORDAN

Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin has warned churches in his diocese not to "jump the queue" and put "everyone at risk" by breaking the lockdown restrictions on public Masses.

Dr Martin said disregard for public health norms in a pandemic was "unacceptable" and added: "There is no room for self-dispensation from or self-interpretation of the norms".

His statement followed media reports that a parish in Blackrock, Co Dublin, allegedly allowed people attend daily Mass in recent days, contravening pandemic restrictions on public worship.

Referring to the reports, Archbishop Martin, while not naming any individual church, noted that the Dublin parish had a policy statement published on its website stating, "public attendance at daily or Sunday Mass is not permissible during the current pandemic".

Dr Martin said he had been "assured that the parish has now returned to that policy".

He highlighted that the Church was working "intensely" to ensure that the reopening of churches for public worship would take place in a manner and at a time that was safe.

He also stressed that public health policy would work only when its proposals and sequencing are fully respected by all.

Some churches in Dublin have remained open throughout the pandemic for private prayer.

Fr Dermot Leycock told RTÉ's 'Drivetime' yesterday that 10 days ago, during windy weather, his parish in Blackrock had decided to create space at the back of the Church of the Guardian Angels, where those people who turned up for 10am Mass could be seated in a socially distanced way, while attending Mass and receiving communion.

"The numbers only really started to grow in the last few days as word got out," he told RTÉ.

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However, in his statement, Archbishop Martin underlined that reopening churches for public worship involves "more than simple social distancing".

The church in Blackrock remained closed yesterday during daily 10am Mass, but the service was live-streamed for worshippers.


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