The Chief Minister has announced this afternoon that as from Saturday 20th February, public worship may be resumed, with the same Public Health directives as just before lockdown, mainly concerning social distancing and sanitisation hygiene. His Lordship the Bishop has therefore instructed the parishes to reopen for public worship on that day.
Unfortunately, this means that public liturgies will resume after Ash Wednesday and so, this year we will not be able to administer the ashes in our customary way. Instead, we may substitute the placing of blessed ashes on our heads, with a time for prayer and contemplation of what Lent means and of the significance this Penitential time has for us as Christians. The Stations of the Cross, or reading and meditating on a passage from Sacred Scriptures which is used at Mass on Ash Wednesday, are particularly appropriate.
Ash Wednesday remains a day of fasting and abstinence for those who are bound by ecclesiastical law and who are able to do so without harm to their health, especially during this time when it is important to keep a good diet that will help us battle against Covid and seasonal viruses.
The dispensation from the observance of the Sunday precept and of Holy Days of Obligation remains in force until we can return fully to normal.
Please be careful to observe social distancing in church, particularly in weekends when the maximum number of persons allowed to gather in a church might inadvertently be exceeded. Your cooperation will be sincerely appreciated, especially if you find on arrival that you should not enter a church because there is no more safe room available.
The previous restrictions regarding funerals, baptisms, weddings and confessions continue to be in force for as long as the Public Authorities’ directives continue to hold.