Statement from Bishop Phonsie Cullinan welcoming the return to public celebration of Mass and the Sacraments

Today we celebrate the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, the founders of the Church of Rome. It is an appropriate day for us to return to the public celebration of Mass and the Sacraments in our country.

       These past few months have been very challenging and stressful for us all. Priests have had to celebrate in empty churches, and many of our priests were also cocooning.  It has been a difficult time for the faithful who have had to endure lockdown and lack of access to the Sacraments. These times have been especially difficult for families who have lost loved ones and who could not celebrate funeral liturgies in the normal way. As we return to a more normal form of Church life, let us remember all of them and pray especially for the repose of the souls of their loved ones. Many businesses have endured severe losses.

        As we return to public Mass let us be careful; let us not rush back into trying to have things exactly as they were. Our ways of gathering, our ways of interacting with each other will be different now. The threat from the virus has not gone away. While great progress has been made we need to be careful and observe social distancing and common-sense hygiene regulations and look out for each other, to ensure that all are safe. Also, I urge people who are vulnerable or with underlying conditions or who have flu-like symptoms to pray at home.

         I wish to remind all parishioners that the Sunday and Holy Day obligations are dispensed with for the time being.

        I acknowledge the tremendous work being done by  priests and volunteers, in helping to get our churches prepared for the return to worship and for assisting with cleaning and stewarding. Your service is much appreciated. We are blessed with great communities across our Diocese.

       We thank God for bringing us to this happy day. May all of us, whether we are in the church building or still watching online, realize that God is with us and that we are in communion with Christ and with each other. May we be renewed so that ‘through the breaking of the Bread and the teaching of the Apostles, we may be one heart and one soul, made steadfast in the love of the Lord. (from the Prayer after Communion, Feast of Saints Peter and Paul)

Mary Our Lady, St. Declan, St. Ita, St Carthage, St. Otteran, Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice, and Little Nellie intercede for us.