The following is the text of a letter sent to the parents and guardians of candidates for First Holy Communion and Confirmation on 30th June 2021.
30th June 2021
Dear parents and guardians, dear children,
It is with profound disappointment that I have just received news that the Government have officially issued new Public Health Advice this afternoon. It reads:
It is advised that religious ceremonies such as […] First Holy Communions and Confirmations should not take place at this time. Further advice will follow on the resumption of these ceremonies when it is safe to do so.
I know that for some of you, this is the third time that your special day has been postponed at the eleventh hour. I can but say that I share your anger, frustration and “holy impatience”.
As soon as we were told that it would be safe to schedule First Holy Communion and Confirmation ceremonies beginning on the 5th of July, your principal, teachers and I wasted no time in making the arrangements for you to celebrate the sacraments. I express my gratitude to all those who worked so very hard to prepare for your big day, including Fr John Ennis and the team in Donnycarney Parish who were preparing to welcome us to their church where there is abundant space for social distancing.
Given that so many of you will have made plans for the summer months already, I think that the best course of action now is to confirm that no Confirmation or First Holy Communion ceremonies will take place at least until September. Those who are waiting for sacraments from last year will again be at the very top of the queue when we schedule the ceremonies again.
We must pray for our public officials who must make difficult decisions for the safety of all the people of our country. For ourselves, I recommend the prayer for serenity:
God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
I continue to remember you in my prayers and ask that you remember me too. As I mentioned this morning to the pupils in Third Class, it is possible for parents to bring children to receive their First Holy Communion at any Mass. If you decide to do so, please contact the Parish Office at least a week in advance so that we can make proper arrangements, as we are still limited by Government regulations to just 50 people in the church for any given Mass.
I pray God’s blessing on you and am one with you in prayer.
Fr Robert Smyth.