Pastoral Update 5th May

Pastoral Update

Our Parish’s Covid-19 Response Team met this evening to plan and prepare for the reopening of our church for public worship from Monday 10th May.  We are looking forward to welcoming parishioners back to the church and are grateful to so many volunteers whose selfless efforts make it possible to join together again in a way that is safe and compliant with the various regulations and guidelines in place at the present time.

Recognising the pastoral needs in our parish, the availability of volunteers and the need to be mindful of COVID and schools safety protocols, the following decisions have been made which come into effect from Monday 10th May.  These arrangements are subject to change and will be regularly reviewed to see how we can improve as we go along.

Church Opening Times

The church will be open for private prayer as follows:

School days:  Monday to Friday 07:30 – 09:30; 11:00 (or later in the event of a funeral) to 19:00.

Saturdays and weekdays when the school is closed:  11:00 (or later in the event of a funeral) to 19:00.

Sundays:  13:15 – 19:00.

Holy Mass

It is important to note that the obligation on Catholics to attend Sunday Mass each week remains suspended at the present time.  Before the pandemic, approximately 1,000 people attended Sunday Mass in our parish every week.  We are limited to just 50 people per Mass at the present time.  If you cannot get to Mass in person, you can continue to join the celebration of the Mass online, by telephone and through the parish radio broadcast.  

If you do have any symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g. a high temperature, a cough, a change in or loss of taste or smell, shortness of breath), please phone your GP and do not come to the church.

Sunday Mass

Sunday Masses will be celebrated as follows:

Saturday at 6pm; Sunday at 10am (Solemn Mass) and 12pm.

Weekday Mass

Weekday Mass will be celebrated at 10am Monday to Saturday.  In the event of a funeral, Requiem Mass will be celebrated at 10am and attendance in person at that Mass will be limited to the friends and relatives of the deceased invited by the bereaved family.  Regrettably, we must suspend our common prayer of the Rosary after Mass at the present time.  We hope, when restrictions are eased, to reintroduce the Rosary after Mass and Lauds (Morning Prayer) before Mass.  

The capacity of the church for Mass is limited to 50 people at the present time.  Admission will begin ten minutes before each Mass through the main door only.  After Mass, all those in attendance are asked to exit through the Marian chapel.

Some notes on Mass times:

  • The church building needs to be sanitised before and after every Mass.  For this reason, admission begins only ten minutes before the Mass and we ask that those in attendance leave the church after the final blessing to allow our kind volunteers to sanitise the church building.
  • Time is needed after every Mass to allow the air in the church to recycle before another liturgy can begin.
  • Funerals are celebrated at 10am, as otherwise:
    • they would have to take place no earlier than 11:30am, in which case, the traffic from the funeral would clash with the no-car zone for school collection.  
    • a second team of volunteers for stewarding and cleaning the church would be required for the second Mass.
  • Where a particular intention is to be remembered at Mass, that intention will be remembered either during the Requiem Mass, or at a later Mass.  Those who book Mass intentions at the parish office are asked to leave a phone number so that we can check with you how you would like us to remember your intention in the event that a funeral occurs on your chosen day.
  • Our new webcam is almost ready!  We are testing it and hope to move to the new server in the coming days.  The webcam service will continue throughout this time of restricted worship with the 10am Mass broadcast each day.  See for the latest information.


The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be celebrated in the Parish Hall after the 10am Mass on Saturday mornings.  Penitents are asked to queue with social distance in the corridor.   A screen will be available in the hall for those who prefer to make their confession anonymously.

First Confessions, First Holy Communion and Confirmation

We know that there are a great many boys and girls eagerly awaiting the day in which they will celebrate the sacraments of initiation.  Four classes for Confirmation from St Fiachra’s SNS, two classes for First Holy Communion children from St Fiachra’s JNS and one class for Holy Communion from St Paul’s Special school are still waiting since last year.  Seven classes are waiting for their First Confession and First Holy Communion from St Fiachra’s JNS this year and a further seven classes from St Fiachra’s SNS await their Confirmation day.

In accordance with Public Health Advice, the Archbishop of Dublin has instructed parishes not to schedule these liturgies at the present time.  It is likely to be the autumn before we can safely gather to celebrate the sacraments.  We share your holy impatience!  As soon as we get a green light, we will do everything possible to safely organise these liturgies.  In the meantime, we encourage parents to continue to share their faith with their children and will write to parents through the schools in the coming days with more information.


The latest instruction that we have from the Archdiocese indicates that Baptism may be celebrated with one child at a time , and that attendance in each case is strictly limited to the parents, siblings and godparents of the child to be baptised.  There are approximately 30 children awaiting Baptism whose families have registered with the Parish Office.  We will be in contact with each family in the coming weeks to arrange:

  • A Zoom meeting with all families to prepare for the celebration of Baptism
  • Individual times for each family to come to the church for the sacrament.

We know that these restrictions are not ideal but we will do everything we can to be sure that the celebration of the sacrament is a joyful experience for the families and for the parish as we welcome new members to our parish community.


As noted above, funerals will be celebrated at 10am, from Monday to Saturday.  The death of somebody we love is never an easy thing to experience and in this past year, so many families have suffered bereavement in a context that is alien to us.  We naturally want to surround those who are bereaved with love and support.  From the 10th of May, up to 50 mourners will be allowed to attend Funeral Masses.  We will ask those families who face bereavement to invite up to 50 people to attend.  In the event of a funeral, unless you have been invited by the family, we ask that you join our prayer for the deceased online, through the phone or by radio.  Outdoor gatherings remain restricted at this time.


Up to 50 people will be allowed to attend weddings in the church from the 10th of May.

Music at our Liturgies

Restrictions are still in place on congregational singing and choirs at this time.  A single cantor and organist are permitted.  Our 10am Sunday Mass will continue to be our solemn parish Celebration of the Eucharist with one cantor present for the Mass.  

Holy Communion

Holy Communion will be distributed to the 50 people who attend at Mass.  Those wishing to receive the Blessed Sacrament will be invited to approach the altar through the central aisle, to sanitise their hands, and to stand at 2m intervals around the foot of the sanctuary.  The priest will distribute Holy Communion.  Low gluten hosts will be available and communicants are asked to prayerfully consider receiving Holy Communion on the hand in this time of the pandemic.

Visitation of the Sick

For the time being, home visits are still suspended.  In the event of particular needs or an emergency, please don’t hesitate to speak to Fr Thadeus or Fr Robert who will do their best to help.

Pastoral Centre

The Parish Pastoral Centre remains closed at the present time.  The Parish Office is open however from 10am to 1pm Monday to Friday and can be contacted also by phone on (01) 8477740.


We are indebted to the great army of volunteers who act as stewards and cleaners for our parish Masses. Please consider joining the team even only once a fortnight!  Visit to register.  Thank you!