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