Pope Francis has urged the faithful to pray for the sick and suffering as the Vatican announced the Holy Week liturgies will be live-streamed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
During his Sunday morning liturgy at the Casa Santa Marta in Rome yesterday, the pontiff asked worshippers to remember the sick and suffering and to pray with him especially "for all those who are working to guarantee public services: those working in pharmacies, supermarkets, transportation, police officers… so that social and civil life can go ahead".
While many bishops across Ireland announced Masses will not be conducted in public until further notice to combat the spread of the virus, at least one parish in Co Donegal conducted Mass as usual yesterday.
The parish of Donaghmore, which is situated in Co Donegal but is a part of the Derry Diocese, held Mass at St Patrick's, Crossroads and St Mary's, Sessiaghoneill churches. But in keeping with guidelines for social distancing, there were no more than 100 people at any time, with 26 attending Mass at St Mary's and around 30 at St Patrick's.
Fr Patsy Arkinson, who celebrated Mass at Sessiaghoneill, said: "I wouldn't be concerned when you look at the numbers coming out to the Masses. They have said gatherings of over 100 were to be avoided, but we are not getting near that number.
"We're just rolling with it at the moment, but all of the Masses within the diocese will cease after St Patrick's Day."
Immunology experts have criticised the British government's strategy of allowing large numbers of people to become infected with coronavirus to develop "herd immunity" so that the more vulnerable do not contract the disease.