Northern Ireland news

Priest calls on mourners to puase funeral traditions to stop Covid-19 spread

Creeslough priest, Fr John Joe Duffy said people must stop gathering at churches and graveyards during funerals.
Seamus McKinney

A PRIEST in Co Donegal has appealed to people to stop attending funerals and gathering outside churches during Requiem Masses.

Creeslough-based cleric Fr John Joe Duffy urged people to suspend normal Irish funeral traditions in the coming days and weeks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Fr Duffy said he appreciated that the traditions of attending wakes, funeral Masses and services and burials was to provide support and help to grieving friends in their time of need.

“This tradition, custom, is for us a very important part of dealing with death and has been a tremendous comfort, consolation and strength,” he said.

However, he warned that the practice of gathering in large numbers for funerals was no longer safe. In particular, Fr Duffy highlighted the practice of gathering outside churches and at cemeteries during funerals.

“It is plain to see that far too many are attending cemeteries and standing out and congregating far too close at arrivals and removals of remains at churches,” he said.

The Donegal curate said coronavirus could spread as easily outdoors as indoors. In particular, he highlighted the new British variant of the virus which spreads even quicker that the original coronavirus.

“It is much safer at this time to send a card, make a phone call or send a message. The next month will be critical for all of us. I urge you all to stay safe, stay at home and follow the public health guidelines,” Fr Duffy said.

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