To all our parishioners, in line with the latest government guidelines issued on Friday 3rd for places of worship, Thurles Parish pastoral Council welcome the opportunity to now re-open the Cathedral for daily masses, including Sunday. Thank you for your commitment and patience so far. We appreciate that the past few months have been very difficult for all of you, and we now ask for your co-operation as we tentatively step forward into the next phase. The safety and health of all people attending the church, the staff, ministers and priests must be paramount. We all have a part to play and a duty of care to keep up-to-date with public health advice and associated regulations and obligations.
The Cathedral of the Assumption will open to the public for two masses from Monday July 6th, and these will be streamed live at 11am and 7pm every day.
The provision of the two mass times allows for the sanitisation of the Cathedral in provision of a safe environment.
The capacity of the Cathedral is now 150 people, and this is possible with certain criteria in place:
Adherence to social distancing guidelines is paramount, as is hand hygiene measures.
Clear distinct zones with not more than 50 people in each area is advised under updated protocols. There is strictly to be no movement of people between zones, before, during or after services. These zones are clearly cordoned off within the Cathedral –:
Zone A, the centre aisles of the Cathedral, will be accessed through the main middle door, and exit point is through the same door.
Zone B – The Bishops palace, Our Lady’s altar side will be accessed through the front right entrance and exit point will be the side door leading into Arch-Bishop’s Kieran’s grounds.
Zone C – the Sacred Heart alter side will be accessed through the front left entrance, and the exit point will be side door at the Sacred Heart altar, by the Ursuline buildings.
The staggered exits are to facilitate ease of movement and to avoid overcrowding outside.
We ask for your co-operation in facilitating the duties of the steward and ministers in a respectful manner, in the interest of safety for everybody. On entry to the Cathedral, stewards will guide you through the designated door. The seats in each section will be clearly displayed by Yellow ‘X’. The seating has been re-arranged to facilitate the 4 metre distance between sections, which is a government guideline, and now includes access to the back of the sanctuary from both side aisles.
For all ministries in the church, social distancing and hygiene measures are paramount. Eucharistic ministers and stewards attended Covid protocol training during the week. Stewards will continue to guide people in an orderly manner to Communion, with social distancing to be maintained by all. Eucharistic ministers and priests will distribute Communion behind screens for everybody’s safety. The Eucharist can be distributed on hands only.
The use of face coverings is now strongly recommended for indoor settings. Vulnerable members of our community may have a preference to continue viewing Mass on-line, as dispensation from the Sunday and Holyday obligation is extended for the foreseeable future. It is hoped that each person will consider attending a maximum of one mass per week to dispel of the possibility of larger crowds attending any given mass.
The use of collection bags and missalettes is temporarily dispensed with due to Covid restrictions. Collection boxes are placed around the Cathedral for your convenience, to contribute to the weekly offertory collection.
In due course BNN Church will reopen for Mass again. Boher Na Naomh church will continue to be available for private prayer and will be open from 9am to the extended time of 2pm daily. The Cathedral will continue to open for private prayer, remaining open after 11am mass extended now to 5.00pm. It will reopen for 7pm mass. The closure at 5.00pm is to facilitate sanitising of the building prior to mass. Please note that Section A, the central aisles will be the allocated section for private prayer, accessed and exited through the main entrance, starting Sunday 5th July.
We are ever mindful of people experiencing grief and loss, made even more difficult by present circumstances. Because of the most recent government guidelines, the gesture of sympathising with families within the Cathedral following the funeral mass is temporarily suspended. The restriction of movement between sections does not allow for this currently. When meeting the family in the Cathedral yard, please be aware of social distancing, with greatest respect to the bereaved families.
We respectfully appreciate your cooperation as we all ease forward into a new normal. We welcome each and everybody on you return, and together it is hoped we can stay safe and well.
And finally, on behalf of the PPC and the people of Thurles parish, we extend a heartfelt congratulations to Fr. Martin Hayes on his appointment as Bishop elect of Kilmore Diocese. Fr. Martin, a native of New Hill, Two-Mile-Borris, served for many years in Thurles, initially in BNN, and later as Administrator of the Cathedral, and these were years of great change in the Parish and Martin led the way with vision and compassion. Some of his lasting legacies include the development of Lámh Chunta and establishing the Parish Pastoral Council after many years of consultation and preparation. He left the Parish well placed to face the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead. For this and much more we thank Martin. His appointment as Director of Diocesan Pastoral Planning, involved developing and delivering the Listening process over the past three years, continuing Pastoral Development across the Diocese. This has been vital work in preparing our Parishes to better meet the needs and challenges of the future. There is no doubt that Fr. Martin will be a big loss to Cashel & Emly, but our loss is Kilmore’s gain. We extend all our best wishes to you and your extended family as you step into a new part of your life. And there will always be a welcome here for you in Thurles. Thank you.
And for all of us, let us move forward in hope. As John O’ Donohue tells us in ‘New Beginnings’
‘Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground.
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.’
As you are aware the Government has brought forward many aspects of Roadmap Covid for reopening society and business. This is scheduled to begin on Monday, June 29th and includes the reopening of our places of worship. We have been looking forward to this news with great anticipation. While we all wish to reopen our churches for the celebration of Mass as soon as possible, the Government announcement on June 25th implies we await a more specific protocol which will ensure the health and well-being of everyone entering our churches.
Initially we will be reopening the Cathedral for Mass where we will have a limited schedule of Masses. In due course we will reopen Bóthar na Naomh Church for Mass.
To this end the Parish Pastoral Council is working with the sacristans and volunteers to prepare our churches to be safe and well-ordered places for people to return to Mass with confidence in the near future. We ask for your patience while we work on this process. When we have finalised our reopening plan for the Cathedral, we will update you further. Thank you for your understanding in this regard.
As Archbishop Kieran paraphrased at the 11.00 a.m. Mass on Friday June 26 in the Cathedral, from Psalm 126 “We shall come back rejoicing, carrying the sheaves of our hearts back into the Church, back into the Community”.
The Bishops of the Munster Province believe it is time to reopen our churches in a responsible manner for a minimum time each day for private prayer. The journey ahead is uncertain and there is still so much that must be recommenced within our churches. A confined section of the Cathedral of the Assumption is open from 12-2pm daily. A section of the church of St. Joseph & St. Brigid in Bóthar na Naomh is open daily from 9.00 a.m. -10.30.a.m.
While it is a very welcome and uplifting step forward, there are a number of considerations to ensure a safe environment for all involved, going forward. These are in alignment with Covid-19 HSE and HSA regulations. We ask that during your visit to Cathedral for prayer please adhere to the following:
If present, follow the guidance of church personnel on duty, who are there to ensure your safety in these present times.
Please avail of hand sanitisers in place for your safety. It is also recommended, if possible, to carry your own personal sanitiser.
Please follow the directions outlined for ease of movement in and out of the Cathedral. Entry and Exit points are clearly marked.
Please ensure social distancing particularly when sitting/kneeling in pews. Please only sit on designated areas marked with ‘X’
When lighting candles at the candelabra, please ensure it is one person at a time.
Minimum touching of surfaces is advised, e.g. door handles, pews, candelabras.
In line with Covid-19 recommendations, and in the interest of public safety, not more than 15 minutes of stay in the Cathedral is advised. This also creates ample opportunity for all to avail of time in prayer and reflection within the two hours.
Please read and take note of any notices displayed with Covid-19 information around the church. We will keep this updated.
We welcome you back to Thurles Cathedral and invite you to take this time to enjoy the peace and ease of prayer and reflection in these uncertain times. For now, let us prepare well for this first stage so that the other stages will follow without any difficulty. Thank you for your attention and co-operation.
‘Wherever two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst.’ (Mt. 18:20)
SACRAMENTS OF FIRST HOLY COMMUNION AND CONFIRMATION 2020
Archbishop Kieran has received several requests for information about the Sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation. It is now certain that all the plans and preparations we have made for the reception of the Sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation will not be realised.
These ceremonies are big occasions and bring many people together to celebrate with those receiving the sacrament. However, following guidelines from the government, right now it is impossible to gather large numbers of people because of the risks involved for the spread of Covid-19. We realise this is a big disappointment for many people but during these challenging times this decision is unavoidable.
To all of you preparing for these sacraments this year Archbishop Kieran would like to state that your First Holy Communion and Confirmation will happen when we receive the assurance from the government that it is safe to hold these ceremonies.
“The Lord is my light and my help. Hope in the Lord, hold firm and take heart”.
Divine Mercy Sunday Devotions: Live Stream from Thurles Parish at 3.00 p.m. this Sunday, April 19th.
Most merciful Jesus,
I turn to You in my need.
You are worthy of my complete trust.
You are faithful in all things.
When my life is filled with confusion, give me clarity and faith.
When I am tempted to despair, fill my soul with hope. Amen.
THURLES PARISH PASTORAL COUNCIL EASTER GREETING:
As we celebrate the passion and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, Thurles Parish Pastoral Council wish to take this time to send you all our heartfelt Easter Greetings and pray every blessing on you and your loved ones. We are indeed living through extraordinary times and are keenly aware of the changed reality as our usual celebration of the Easter mysteries cannot take place this year. The saying that “you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone” has never rang so true. Our current reality has thrown light on just how much our communal celebration of our faith enriches our lives and nourishes us as people. We look forward with hope to when we can once again return to our churches and celebrate our faith together as one family in Christ.
In this difficult time we are delighted that it has been possible to stream a daily mass and the holy week ceremonies on www.thurlesparish.ie It has been such a joy each day to be able to feel part of the mass and the wider community of believers in our parish and beyond. Although we may be in isolation watching in our homes, the sense of connection with the familiar faces and voices has been uplifting each morning. We thank you all for your work in this.
Easter is a time of hope! After going through the dark and difficult days of Holy Week and Good Friday, when Jesus was left alone and isolated, the breaking open of the tomb and the joy of the resurrection changes everything. Fear and despair are replaced with joy and hope for the future. The disciples thought that all was lost and hid away in fear. All that changed when Jesus came back from the dead and gave them new hope. In that spirit of faith let us look forward to brighter days ahead, when we too will leave the darkness of these difficult times behind us and embrace each other in love once more.
We wish to extend a heartfelt gratitude to everybody working relentlessly on the frontline – our healthcare teams, ambulance and first responders, priests and all involved in pastoral care, the gardai, army and many more who are dealing first-hand with the crisis. Thank you to all our Parish and community volunteers who are reaching out and helping the most vulnerable in our society. The qualities of generosity, compassion and innovation are really to the fore.
We are very mindful of the bereaved in our community, and the palpable loss of familiar community and church support for funerals and services, which is unique to this time. Our heartfelt condolences and support are extended to you, and our gratitude to local undertakers who are compassionately supporting families.
We, the Thurles Parish Pastoral Council take this opportunity to wish you all a peaceful and hope filled Easter. May all of you and your families remain safe and well.
‘The great gift of Easter is hope – Christian hope which makes us have that confidence in God, in his ultimate triumph, and in his goodness and love, which nothing can shake.’ (Cardinal Basil Hume)
HOLY WEEK CEREMONIES LIVE STREAM 2020:
Holy Week Ceremonies available on live stream @ www.thurlesparish.ie:
PALM SUNDAY: MASS: 11.00 a.m.
LENTEN EVENING PRAYER: 7.00 p.m.
We invite you to cut a piece of palm and if you are joining us on either live stream or on the radio we will offer a blessing of Palm as an alternative to what we normally do. ‘The Blessed Palms: As we place this palm in a special place in our home, may it be a reminder, Jesus, of your great unconditional love for each of us. May it be a source of protection for us all the year through
HOLY THURSDAY: MASS OF THE LORD’S SUPPER – 7.00 p.m.
PRAYER IN THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE – 9.00 p.m.
GOOD FRIDAY: THE LORD’S PASSION – 3.00 p.m.
STATIONS OF THE CROSS – 7.00 p.m.
HOLY SATURDAY: EASTER VIGIL – 7.00 p.m.
EASTER SUNDAY: 11.00 a.m.
R.T.E. will be broadcasting Holy Week Ceremonies.
FAITHCAST is a mixture of interviews, news and stories of faith from the Catholic Church in Ireland. The podcasts will be available on www.catholicbishops.ie
“This is the time to be slow,
Lie low against the wall
Until the bitter weather passes.
Try, as best you can, not to let
The wire brush of doubt
Scrape from your heart
All sense of yourself
And your hesitant light
If you remain generous,
Time will come good;
And you will find your feet
Again on fresh pastures of promise,
Where the air will be kind
And blushed with beginning.