The emphasis has been on the suspension of Masses during the COVID-19 emergency, but there are many other activities which take place in parishes. In his letter to parishioners Cardinal John Dew set out the following restrictions on parish activities:
Visits to the sick and housebound
Your pastoral team will make arrangements to ensure that
those who are sick or housebound receive spiritual care. They will also keep in
contact with those who are in self-isolation, and you should advise them if you
are in this situation. Communion to the sick who are not in danger of death is
suspended. Priests will continue to look after those who are critically ill,
and the normal process for contacting a priest in your area should be followed.
The immediate family of the deceased (which must be fewer in
number than 100 or the Ministry of Health’s future minimum number) may gather
for the funeral rite, taking great care to practice social distancing. There
are to be no prayer vigils the day before a funeral. The Rite of Committal will
take place at the cemetery with the immediate family only. There will be no
Requiem Masses at this time.
Marriages and Baptisms
Marriages without Mass and Baptisms may take place with
immediate family members, provided they follow the regulations established by
the Ministry of Health. Marriage preparation courses are suspended.
All parish gatherings are suspended. This includes meetings;
sacramental programmes; the conferring of First Holy Communion, First
Reconciliation and Confirmation; Lent programmes; RCIA programmes; and the
Second Rite of Reconciliation. Reconciliation will be available by appointment
or at set times if it can be conducted in a safe way.
Parish offices may make their own decision about remaining
open, but must enforce social distancing with any visitors. If necessary the
office may be closed to visitors but be accessible through its phone and email
systems. There will be a way to contact a priest.