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Parish Office open via telephone and email

The parish office telephone line has re-opened. Telephone: 086 85 77 644 and email: bkoffice@parishes.galwaydiocese.ie
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays: 9.30am to 12.30pm.
Welcome back to Catherine, the parish secretary. Please note that for the moment as the pandemic continues, contact will be by telephone only, so please do not visit the office. Mass cards will continue to be unavailable until further notice.

Message from Bishop Brendan Kelly regarding face coverings in Church and other issues related to the Covid-19 emergency

Bishop Brendan Kelly has issued this message regarding face coverings in Church and other issues related to the Covid-19 emergency:
‘The agreed press statement at the bottom of this email [see below], strongly recommending the wearing of face coverings in Churches at ‘services of worship’, was issued by the leaders of the four main Churches in Ireland today. I am forwarding it to you for information.
In keeping with the strong recommendations in this statement, it is now the Diocesan policy of the Diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora that from Sunday August 30, we are formally recommending and strongly encouraging the wearing of face coverings at all masses and liturgical celebrations in our churches until further notice, along with the ongoing maintenance of 2 metre physical distancing between members of the congregation, and four metres physical distancing between the celebrant and the front row of the congregation.
It would not be appropriate for the celebrant or the minister of the Word to wear face coverings while ministering in the sanctuary, but they should at all times continue to maintain at least 2 metres physical distancing from one another.
Some people, for good reasons, are exempted from the wearing of face coverings, even in contexts where it is normally mandatory. Those same reasons apply when people come to Mass and should, of course, be respected.’
Bishop Brendan also wrote: ‘On a separate point, the situation regarding religious services in places of worship (including funerals) remains unchanged (i.e. pods of up to 50 with social distancing etc., with the exception of counties Laois, Offaly and Kildare where the number is 25 at present). However, the maximum number permitted at an outdoor burial is 15, in line with the Government statement of 18 August.
It has been a difficult and challenging time for all people in our country, and not least for parishes. We have been blessed particularly in the many volunteers who have come forward and are doing immense work to ensure the safety and protection of all people who come to church.’
Here is the statement issued by the Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland Primates of All Ireland, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, and the President of the Methodist Church in Ireland:
‘At this time, both in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland, the governments have not formally made mandatory the wearing of face coverings at services of worship. This is, in part, due to the fact that as churches we are committed to maintaining 2 metre physical distancing between household groups and strict adherence to all government guidance on hand hygiene, cleaning, ventilation etc.
It, however, remains our responsibility to ensure that our services of worship are safe places for all who join with us. It has become increasingly clear that the wearing of face coverings, in conjunction with hand washing etc., is likely to reduce the spread of coronavirus, thus helping to protect others. Their use is therefore one way in which we can evidence protection for the most vulnerable, support for our health workers, and practical love for our neighbours.
Following further recent consultations with public health authorities, we join with Christian church leaders all over this island in formally recommending and encouraging the use of face coverings at all services of worship, along with the ongoing maintenance of 2 metre physical distancing, from Sunday 30 August 2020, and earlier if practicable.
We understand that some people are exempted from the wearing of face coverings, as outlined in the two jurisdictions.
We also recognise that whilst it may not be appropriate for those who are leading from the front during worship, including preaching, to wear face coverings, they should at all times continue to maintain at least 2 metre physical distancing from one another, and 4 metre physical distancing from the front row of the congregation.’
The Most Revd Eamon Martin
Roman Catholic Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland
The Most Revd John McDowell
Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland
The Rt Revd Dr David Bruce
Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland
The Revd Dr Tom McKnight
President of the Methodist Church in Ireland

Update on Covid-19 procedures

In the government Covid-19 announcement yesterday (18th August 2020), indoor arrangements for Churches were left unchanged because measures are in place to attend safely. See https://www.rte.ie/news/coronavirus/2020/0818/1159878-virus-press-conference/
In relation to Doorus Church, if funerals occur, it is as well to mention now, when no funerals are pending, so that it will be clear it is not personal to anybody, that because the 2 meter distancing rule applies (except in the case of people who live in the same household), the capacity for a funeral will be considerably less than the 50 people. Therefore, families will have to choose between having a smaller number in attendance in Doorus Church or having the funeral in one of the other Churches of the parish. Please be sensitive to the fact that the parish is obliged to follow the government restrictions, in the interest of public health, and does not have discretion to make exceptions.

Note for stewarding volunteers

Thank you to all our stewarding volunteers for the work you are doing in organising the seating, physical distancing, and putting the congregation at ease in the Churches at this time. At this stage, it could be good to review the guidelines in the diocesan guidance document, as seen here, and the video. Please note that stewards should not assist people in sanitising hands, as you must keep a 2 meter distance from each person.

Solemnity of the Assumption of Our Lady, 15th August 2020

The usual obligation for Holy Days is suspended this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Masses will be celebrated with the current restrictions on numbers as follows:
Friday 14th August: Vigil Mass at the Grotto at Ballinderreen Church at 7pm. No Mass in Kinvara that evening. (See details below.)
Saturday 15th August: Mass at 12 noon in St Colman’s Church, Kinvara. The evening Vigil Masses on Saturday at 7pm in St Joseph’s and 8.15pm in Ballinderreen are for Sunday, i.e., not the Assumption.
Ballinderreen Grotto Mass (7pm Friday): As the Mass will take place outdoors, the capacity will be 200 people, observing 2m distancing, except for members of the same household who can sit/stand together. Please follow the indications of the stewards, and, if more than 200 people were to come, please be understanding that no more can be admitted to the Church grounds. If the weather is inclement, the following would happen:
1. If there is drizzle or light rain, Mass will continue outside, and the elderly and those who wish can sit in the Church, up to a maximum of 50 people.
2. If the rain is heavier, Mass will move into the Church, with a capacity of 50 people, and others can participate sitting in cars via the outside speaker or Facebook stream.

Confirmation of Northampton N.S. Graduates

Congratulations to the eleven former pupils of Scoil Bhríghde Naofa, Northampton, who received the Sacrament of Confirmation in St Colman’s Church, Kinvara on 8th August 2020. They are pictured here after the ceremony with Mr Shane McDonagh, Principal of Northampton N.S. and Fr Hugh Clifford, celebrant.

Note about Tuesday, 4th August 2020

Please note that there will no Mass in Ballinderreen Church on Tuesday evening (4th August 2020) as Fr Hugh will be at the Chrism Mass in Galway Cathedral. Those who would have attended this Mass, please spread to Wednesday or Saturday evening instead. Please keep the priests of the Diocese in your prayers as they gather with Bishop Brendan Kelly for the Chrism Mass which was postponed from Holy Thursday. (Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament will continue as normal from 6pm to 7pm.)

Letter regarding re-start of public worship in Kinvara Parish

(See separate post for Ballinderreen Parish). Copies of this letter will be available in the porch of St Joseph’s Church, Kinvara and other places.

Dear parishioners of Kinvara,
It is good news that, from 29th June 2020, it will be possible, though with restrictions, to have a congregation present again at Mass and other Sacraments in the Churches of the Parish of Kinvara. In order to do this, we must satisfy important conditions to ensure that everybody is kept safe from the COVID-19 virus. These conditions are in place to ensure strict adherence to physical distancing, good hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and regular cleaning and sanitising of shared areas and surfaces. Our parish approach is detailed in the guidance document from the Bishops of the West of Ireland, ‘Nothing Can Separate Us from the Love of God’. To read that document in full, see https://www.galwaydiocese.ie/…/Nothing-can-separate-us-from… Many thanks to the Parish Pastoral Council members who have been giving generously of their time in helping to work out how to apply these arrangements in this parish.
It is most important that people who are unwell or in a vulnerable category – and especially those with any symptoms that might suggest COVID-19 infection – should stay at home, and, if possible, continue to participate via the Facebook live-streaming of Mass.
The Obligation to attend Sunday Mass (and Holy Days) is suspended during the pandemic. Parishioners in a position to do so could consider coming to Mass on a different day for the time being in order to spread the numbers more evenly. The normal Sunday Mass schedule will resume. (Vigil Mass in St Joseph’s at 7pm on Saturday, Mass in Doorus on Sunday at 9am, and in St Colman’s Church at 12 noon.) Weekday Masses will be on Thursdays at 7pm and on Fridays at 7pm in St Joseph’s Church, instead of the usual 10am, to facilitate those who are working during the day if willing to attend on a day other than Sunday while the restrictions continue.
Please use the hand sanitiser provided on entering and leaving the Church.
The use of face coverings is advised. Please dispose of them and any gloves at home.
The seating capacity of the Churches will be greatly reduced. The current 2 metre distancing requirement means that two rows in every three will be blocked off and that there will be room for 2 people sitting 2m apart in each pew, except that more members of the same household will be able to sit together in the same pew. It won’t be possible to keep favourite seats or traditional family seats in the Church during this period, but we look forward to the time in the future when parishioners can choose a favourite seat again. Priority will be given to family members of those for whom the Mass is offered for anniversaries, months minds, etc
Space will be available at the front inside the Church for anybody with a physical disability who requires space for a wheelchair, etc. Please make known any special requirements and they will be accommodated.
When the limited capacity inside is reached, those who cannot enter the Church building will be able to participate from outside via an outside loudspeaker at each Church, or with the help of the Facebook live-streaming, but please observe 2-metre physical distancing. At St Joseph’s Church, please do not park on the Parochial House side of the Church, so that the area will be safe for those standing outside.
Please follow the directions of the stewards for entering and leaving the Church, and for receiving Communion, in order to limit people crossing each other’s paths as much as possible.
The Sign of Peace will remain suspended during this period.
The Priest and Ministers of Holy Communion will wear face coverings for the distribution of Communion. Each Minister of Holy Communion is asked to have his or her own face covering. During this time, Communion will have to be received on the hand only. In Kinvara Parish, the Priest and Ministers of Holy Communion will go to each seat with Communion. The stewards, wearing gloves, will temporarily remove the tape so that the Priest or Minister of Holy Communion can move along the seat in front of those receiving Communion. A Minister of Holy Communion will bring Communion to those outside. Low-gluten hosts will be available from the Priest and Minister of Holy Communion for those who require them.
Unfortunately, even the choirs will have to be restricted in the interests of physical distancing and prevention of droplet projection. It will be possible to have an organist and cantor instead during this period.
The Altar Servers will be re-introduced in September, observing the restrictions necessary at that time.
Baskets will not be passed around for the offertory collection. Instead, there will be a container at the door in which you can place your offering.
There will be no Holy Water in the fonts for the time being. The parish newsletter will not be available during this time, to avoid the risk of contamination by handling sheets of paper handled by others.
All these guidelines will be kept under constant review, taking account of the experience of their implementation and any changes in public health guidance.
Volunteers are invited to come forward, in particular to be part of the teams sanitising the Churches (at least an hour) after each Mass or other ceremony, and for the teams of stewards who will help to maintain physical distancing and safe movement within and outside the Churches. To volunteer, please email the parish at bkpp@parishes.galwaydiocese.ie or bkoffice@parishes.galwaydiocese.ie or send a direct message to this Facebook page or telephone Fr Hugh at 091 637154, with your name, contact phone number, your email, and please mention which Church you are volunteering for.
I greatly look forward to seeing you back in Church. We ask the Lord to protect everybody in our community and to bring this period of emergency to an end soon.
Yours sincerely, Fr Hugh Clifford, Parish Priest

Letter regarding re-start of public worship in Ballinderreen Parish

(See separate post for Kinvara Parish). Copies of this letter will be available in the porch of Ballinderreen Church and other places.

Dear parishioners of Ballinderreen,
It is good news that, from 29th June 2020, it will be possible, though with restrictions, to have a congregation present again at Mass and other Sacraments in St Colman’s Church in Ballinderreen. In order to do this, we must satisfy important conditions to ensure that everybody is kept safe from the COVID-19 virus. These conditions are to ensure strict adherence to physical distancing, good hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and regular cleaning and sanitising of shared areas and surfaces. Our parish approach is detailed in the guidance document from the Bishops of the West of Ireland, Nothing Can Separate Us from the Love of God. To read that document in full, see https://www.galwaydiocese.ie/…/Nothing-can-separate-us-from… Many thanks to the Parish Pastoral Council members who have been giving generously of their time in helping to work out how to apply these arrangements in Ballinderreen parish.
It is most important that people who are unwell or in a vulnerable category – and especially those with any symptoms that might suggest COVID-19 infection – should stay at home, and, if possible, continue to participate via the Facebook live-streaming of Mass.
The Obligation to attend Sunday Mass (and Holy Days) is suspended during the pandemic. The normal Sunday Mass at 10.30am will resume. A Saturday evening Vigil Mass at 8.15pm will be introduced temporarily in order to give more people a chance to come. Weekday Masses will be on Tuesdays at 7pm and on Wednesdays at 7pm, instead of the usual 9am Mass on Wednesdays, to facilitate those who are working during the day.
It is necessary to ask parishioners to attend Mass on a day other than Sunday some of the weeks. For the purpose of deciding who gets to attend each Mass because of the limitation on numbers in the Church, a plan has been devised, dividing the parish into four quadrants, with the crossroads as the dividing point, with the dates rotating. Please see the accompanying list of areas in each quadrant and rota of which quadrant is timetabled for each Mass. Please arrive to Mass no earlier than 30 minutes before the Mass, so that the stewards may give entry to people in a fair manner. Entrance to the Church will be through the main door, and exit through the side door. Please wait for the stewards to show you to your seat.
Please use the hand sanitiser provided on entering and leaving the Church.
The use of face coverings is advised. Please dispose of them and any gloves at home.
The seating capacity of the Churches will be greatly reduced. The current 2 metre distancing requirement means that two rows in every three will be blocked off and that a maximum of two people not of the same household may sit in each seat in the main aisle, and three in each seat in the side aisles, with 2 metres apart. Members of the same household may sit together in a seat. It won’t be possible to keep favourite seats or traditional family seats in the Church during this period, but we look forward to the time in the future when parishioners can choose a favourite seat again. Priority will be given to family members of those for whom the Mass is offered for anniversaries, months minds, etc. The Church will be filled in the following order: school-side aisle first, choir aisle next and then the main aisle starting with the front seats.
Space will be available in the area beside the children’s room for anybody with a physical disability who requires space for a wheelchair, etc. Wheelchair access will be available and is clearly signed in the Church. Please make known any special requirements and they will be accommodated.
When the limited capacity inside is reached, those who cannot enter the Church building will be able to participate from outside via the outside loudspeaker, or with the help of the Facebook livestreaming, but please observe 2-metre physical distancing or sit in your car.
Please follow the directions of the stewards for entering and leaving the Church, and for receiving Communion, in order to limit people crossing each other’s paths as much as possible.
The Sign of Peace will remain suspended during this period.
The Priest and Ministers of Holy Communion will wear face coverings for the distribution of Communion. Each Minister of Holy Communion is asked to have his or her own face covering. During this time, Communion will have to be received on the hand only. In Ballinderreen Parish, Holy Communion will be distributed at the end of Mass, the school side first, then the choir aisle, and then the main aisle, starting with the front seats. Parishioners should depart then through the side entrance. Parishioners attending Mass outside or in their cars are welcome to come in to receive Communion at the end of Mass, adhering to the guidance of the stewards. Low-gluten hosts will be available from the Priest and Minister of Holy Communion for those who require them.
Unfortunately, even the choirs will have to be restricted in the interests of physical distancing and prevention of droplet projection. It will be possible to have an organist and cantor instead during this period.
The Altar Servers will be re-introduced in September, observing the restrictions necessary at that time.
Baskets will not be passed around for the offertory collection. Contributions can be placed in the offertory collection box in the entrance porch before Mass or in the exit porch after Mass.
There will be no Holy Water in the fonts for the time being. The parish newsletter will not be available during this time, to avoid the risk of contamination by handling sheets of paper handled by others. The children’s room and the toilets will remain closed for now.
All these guidelines will be kept under constant review, taking account of the experience of their implementation and any changes in public health guidance.
Volunteers are invited to come forward, in particular to be part of the teams sanitising the Churches (at least an hour) after each Mass or other ceremony, and for the teams of stewards who will help to maintain physical distancing and safe movement within and outside the Churches. To volunteer, please email the parish at bkpp@parishes.galwaydiocese.ie or bkoffice@parishes.galwaydiocese.ie or send a direct message to the parish Facebook page or telephone Fr Hugh at 091 637154, with your name, contact phone number, your email, and please mention that it is for Ballinderreen Parish you are volunteering.
I greatly look forward to seeing you back in Church. We ask the Lord to protect everybody in our community and to bring this period of emergency to an end soon.
Yours sincerely, Fr Hugh Clifford, Parish Priest

Training video for volunteers for sanitising the Churches

Training video for volunteers for sanitising the Churches:Sincere thanks to those who have volunteered for this task. It is a generous commitment which will allow us to re-commence the public celebration of Mass and the Sacraments. More volunteers are needed so as to spread the turns among teams. Please watch this video: