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Christmas 2020

Christmas 2020

Dear Friends,

The past nine months have been difficult for the Capuchin Friars here in Priorswood and for parishioners.  Closing the church and the church grounds during the lockdown period was difficult. Re-opening the church is now proving a challenge. Safety when people are attending Mass or church services remains paramount.

The success of using our social media media platforms has been phenomenal. People have been tuning into Facebook and then the webcam and these have provided a way to reach out. The evening Rosary at 8.00 p.m. Monday to Friday, has a worldwide audience including participants from U.K., Philadelphia, Denver (USA) and Australiawith an audience in excess of 200 accounts and often 2 to 3 thousand views on Facebook.

`    Preparation for Christmas:

As part of the practicalities in preparation for Christmas ceremonies,

Government guidelines must be adhered to, but with careful planning and the space available in the Church, 100 people may be present at each Mass (this figure includes the celebrants).

There will be 5 Masses:

Christmas Eve; 5.00 p.m. 7.00 p.m. and 9.00 p.m.

Christmas Day; 9.30 a.m. and 11.30 a.m.

You are asked to pick one Mass only. We cannot admit any more than 100 people. We are required to sanitize the church between Masses and Mass must not last longer than one hour, and that time includes people arriving and leaving the Church.

The traditional Family/Children’s Mass will not be heldin 2020 (This usually includes procession to the Crib, Santa and Choir) due to adherence to HSE COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Archbishop Martin has advised that parishioners be encouraged to visit the Church during the 12 days of Christmas instead of going to Mass on Christmas eve or Christmas Day. Therefore, I would like to invite families to visit the Crib privately as a family and for the children place a spider in the Crib as there is a lovely story of the spider who wove a web-blanket to keep the baby Jesus warm.

Pope Francis issued a dispensation in relation to the obligation of attending Mass during the current pandemic. The Irish Bishops remind people therefore that the obligation to go to Mass is suspended. Please consider not coming to Mass in the church over Christmas, rather visit the crib privately and tune in to the Masses on the Priorswood Parish Facebook Page, and on the webcam on www.priorswoodparish.ie

We have been working on a system to help people enter, take their seats, and exit the church safely.  People will only be able to enter from one door. We have appointed a Covid Team who will be wearing Hi-Viz jackets and they will be on duty before, during, and after the Masses from now on. We would appeal to people to follow their instructions and allow them to get you to and from your seats safely. Please do not go yourself to a seat. I am aware that people have plaques at certain seats and have sat there for years, but this year we would ask you not to worry about that but to be guided by the stewards.

It is imperative for people to arrive at the church and leave the church mindful of social distancing and keeping 2 metres apart from others. We have hand sanitising stations at the entrance to the church and all are asked to sanitize. It is now a requirement by law for people to wear face coverings inside all buildings. We will politely ask people to make sure they are wearing facemasks.We would also ask that people do not delay when leaving the church.

Again, we have a larger area inside the church which means we can safely hold not more than 100 people in two quadrants. Please understand that we are required to count the numbers in the church and once we reach the maximum safely allowed, we will have to ask people not to enter and to come to another Mass. Some other parishes are introducing a ticketing system, and still others have decided not to hold public Mass but for Masses to remain online only.

Thanks for your patience and understanding.

Fr. Bryan Shortall ofm cap P.P.

Gerry Charles, Chairperson of the Parish Pastoral Council.

Tel : 01 847 4469 | Email : office@priorswoodparish.ie
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