Some schools in North Tipperary could be forced to postpone communions and confirmations amid fears of the spread of the Delta variant.
The HSE has appealed to bishops in the Mid West to postpone communions & confirmations due to concerns about the number of Covid cases in the Mid West.
While the Archbishop of Cashel and Emly has appealed to parents not to host communion parties.
A letter was sent on Tuesday to the dioceses of Cashel-Emily, Limerick, and Killaloe, recommending that ceremonies be deferred unit September, due to the high rate of Covid in the mid-west region.
It suggests that ceremonies should be delayed until September, by which time most of those eligible should be fully vaccinated.
A letter from the Cashel-Emly diocese to local clergy, parents, guardians and school principals explains the HSE’s position. Archbishop O’Reilly, in this letter, states that he recognises ceremonies are already scheduled and that the HSE’s recommendation is disappointing.
Archbishop O’Reilly does not say ceremonies should be deferred, but states that serious consideration must be given to the HSE’s recommendation.
Over 500 cases have been identified in the mid west in the past two weeks.
Speaking to Tipp Today, Father Michael Twomey in Newcastle says that while they have not been told to defer communions, the lack of clarity is frustrating:
“At the moment, we’ve received no notification, nothing to change, so we’re still planning ahead as if the 9th and 11th of July carries on.
“Now, what I am aware of is that the Government in the last couple of days have been mooting the idea, that the 5th of July, which was the re-opening of society, that might be pushed back and that might not be announced, I think until next Thursday.
“So, we can’t do anything until we hear more, but every time I give a date, I say these are provisional dates and unless you hear from your school or your parish, I’d say everything is going ahead, unless you get a call or a text.”
He also said that while the last few months have been difficult, the newly stripped down services have actually been very beneficial:
“It will be the child, the sponsor and two other people and that will be it in the Church. We found last year is that worked exceptionally well, it was very prayerful, there was no crowding of people.
“I think is going to let us look at this again and when this pandemic is over, we will look at things and say, well let’s channel this and see can we work on it.
“We found across the board – parents, students, the Bishop, myself – we found it much more prayerful and much more respectful and we found it of great benefit.”
Parishes are being told that the final decision on whether or not to go ahead is up to them individually.