Tuesday, August 03, 2021

By Dominic McGrath, PA

A Government Minister has appealed to communities to wait a little longer before holding first communions and confirmations.

Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue asked Catholic churches to follow the public health advice and to hold off on hosting the ceremonies.

Current guidelines advise the public that baptisms, communions and confirmations should not take place. Baptisms can take place from August 5th.

“I fully understand the frustration people feel. Like many people in the country, I have very strong memories myself of both communion and confirmation and it’s a very important day in everyone’s lives,” Mr McConalogue said.

“The public health advice is still very clear in relation to being cautious in relation to the advice around communions, and confirmation.

“The important thing here, in relation to communions and confirmations, is while it is frustrating to to see these delays, no one’s going to get hurt by waiting a little bit longer to avail of it and to have that special day.”

‘People are still becoming infected’

Speaking on RTÉ radio, Mr McConalogue said that people need to remain “cautious”.

“There is a reality out here that people are still becoming infected by Covid. People are still going into hospital by Covid. And it’s important to stay and keep cautious and keep safe in that period,” he said.

On the same programme, Fr Eamonn Kelly, a priest from the parish of Raphoe in Donegal, said: “I am happy to go ahead with confirmations and first holy communions because we are doing so under the strictest protocols we can do.”

“We have already cancelled these ceremonies twice for the children and I think it’s right to go ahead with them now,” he said.

Fr Kelly said that it would likely take several weeks to arrange any communion or confirmation ceremonies. He said he anticipated ceremonies taking place in September and October and that planning would begin after August 13th.

Parts of Donegal have the highest rates of Covid-19 in Ireland.

“If there were serious outbreaks and we were afraid that we would contribute to any way of spreading coronavirus, we would most definitely have to look again and probably have to cancel them again,” Fr Kelly said.

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