Archbishop hopes northern parishes will also soon be able to gather for public Mass
ARCHBISHOP of Armagh Eamon Martin last night welcomed the announcement that public Mass could resume as early as June 29 in the Republic.
He said it was his "fervent hope and prayer that parishes in Northern Ireland will also soon be able to gather for public worship in the same way as parishes on the rest of the island".
Bishops will meet on Monday to finalise their national framework document guiding parishes on how the celebration of Mass and the sacraments can safely resume.
"I wish to commend dioceses and parishes for undertaking preparations to facilitate the safe return of the faithful to public worship in a measured way, and for their reaching out to parishioners in very difficult circumstances during the lockdown which included the broadcasting of Mass and other prayer opportunities by webcam," he said.
"During the pandemic we were unable to gather in the normal way for the Eucharist and other sacraments, but we have been alert to God's presence in the lonely and the suffering.
"Sadly the pandemic has brought great suffering to many families whose loved ones have died because of the virus.
"In a lot of cases it was not possible for family members to be by their side, or to be present at their funeral.
"God knows our grief and how much we need strength, courage, consolation and comfort at this time. As the restrictions ease the Church will continue to assist those in the greatest need."