the Sacred Heart Novena came to a close with Fr Kieran O’Mahony’s warm message about community:
“I could not imagine being a Christian on my own. What I have was carried by the generations before me. What I have I celebrate and live with my own community of faith. Some fundamental belonging is at the heart of being a believer.”
At Gardiner Street Church we are planning the return to community prayer but it’s going to be slower than we hoped. Indeed, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin betrays some frustration with the rules as laid down. In a communication to parishes on Saturday 20th June he says:
“It is obviously disappointing that with the reopening for public worship there is a blanket restriction to the participation of a maximum of 50 in these first weeks. You will know that I have already expressed my view that in this initial period we should be patient and to allow the new situation to settle down. I feel that this is wise and I believe that many of our Mass-goers will themselves be cautious in attending larger gatherings of people.
However it seems strange that in a Church with a capacity of 1,500 people which has been scrupulously fitted out for conformity with social distancing and with clear indications about movement and interaction of people within Church, that only 50 people might be present, while we all see a situation in which large retail outlets brimming with people.
I hope that it will be possible to come to a more reasonable and responsible situation in which numbers permitted to attend Mass could be proportionate to the size of each Church. The numbers would not be very large. In some cases, it is not just a question of the limitation to 50 people in a large parish Church, but this would effectively mean that only 50 people out of a parish of over 10,000 might be able to attend.”
In the meantime, we are planning to open for weekday Masses on Monday 29th June and for our first Sunday Masses on 4th/5th July.
Fr. Gerry Clarke SJ, Parish Priest, St Francis Xavier’s Church, Gardiner Street
REOPENING OF THE CHURCH FOR PUBLIC WORSHIP 29TH JUNE
Maximum number 50
The reopening of churches for public worship has been brought forward by the public authorities. It means that now we face a new stage. The Parish team has prepared a reopening plan based on strict adherence to the norms of public health keeping in mind that the safety and wellbeing of our congregations is paramount.
Our roadmap for this new stage is The Framework Document for a Return to the Public Celebration of Mass and the Sacraments approved by the Irish Episcopal Conference. Based on that framework and the advice of public health authorities we have made the following decisions:
- Mass times
From Monday 29th June until further notices our Mass timetable will be as follows:
Weekdays: 8.30, 11.00 (there will not be 1.00 pm mass until further notice)
Sundays: 6.00 pm Vigil Mass
9.15 am and 11.00 am
12:30 Mass in Polish
- 2. In order to comply with social distancing regulations, the Church can only accommodate 50 people for each Mass. There will be a limited number of seats available in the Church, separated and marked to ensure that the faithful keep a safe distance during celebrations. We have also created other safety protocols that will be informed as we approach the date. We would appreciate strict adherence to those protocols for your safety and out of respect for others.
- The dispensation from the Sunday and Holy Day obligation is extended for the time being. We encourage people over 70 and/or with underlying conditions to attend mass on weekdays when the number of people is usually smaller than on Sundays.
- PEOPLE WHO ARE ILL SHOULD NOT ATTEND RELIGIOUS SERVICES. If you feel unwell with symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g. cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, high temperature) please do not visit the Church.
- Blessed John Sullivan sanctuary will be open for prayer and lighting candles but only 4 people at a time will be let in the area. Please be as brief as you can to allow others to visit and pray besides Blessed John Sullivan Tomb and Sacred Heart of Jesus Shrine.
- Candles may be lit from a burning candle that will be placed beside each candlestand. Lighters will not be provided.
- The Parish Repository will be open as usual. However, in line with the guidelines the Bl. John Sullivan Crucifix won’t be available for blessings and the Holy Water fonts will remain empty.
We are preparing the reopening of the Church according to the guidelines issued by the HSE, The Conference of Irish Catholic Bishops and the Archdiocese of Dublin. Complying with those guidelines will require extra help (stewards, collectors, ministers of the Eucharistic, cleaning team, etc) Would you be available?
Just leave your name and a way of contacting you at our front desk (01 836 3411) or firstname.lastname@example.org or talk to Fr. Gerry or Fr. Richard or Christine Halloran who is coordinating our “Return to Church” Steering Group.
THANKS TO ALL WHO HELPED in so many ways during the Sacred Heart Novena 2020. Thanks to all who gave contributions in cash or online. Special thanks to Fr. Kieran O’Mahony who was our guest preacher. His message was well received and very much appreciated.
We are preparing a booklet with all the readings, psalms, homilies, poems, and images of the Novena. If you wish to order a copy please ring 01 836 34 11 or email SFXgardinerstreet@outlook.com.