Diocesan Safeguarding Day, 2020 – Letter from Archbishop Martin
Sunday 27 September is Diocesan Safeguarding Day. The safety and protection from abuse of the children and vulnerable members of Archdiocese is a particular priority of all of us. This year we face a different set of challenges and we do so in a situation of considerable uncertainty.
You will be aware that it has been necessary to reduce the number employed by the Diocese including a number of people employed in the Child Safeguarding and Protection Service. However, our commitment to Safeguarding and to the support of victim/survivors of abuse remains undiminished. We need to consider the implications of working with less and the opportunities this presents to look at how we share what we have.
Given the uncertainty surrounding bringing people together, we will have to consider how best we approach things like delivering safeguarding training. Information technology presents us with new opportunities, while also presenting challenges for those not used to using computers.
There is a third uncertainty which I wish to address. I cannot say for how much longer I will serve as your Archbishop. As I near the end of my time with you, I want to say a particular thank you for all of the work you have been doing to make the Church in Dublin a safer place for children and for vulnerable adults. Our parish clergy, already under pressure due to declining numbers, have had to accept additional responsibilities in this area, such as ensuring that those involved in public ministry are vetted. I wish to thank also the hundreds of parish safeguarding representatives and the thousands who have attended safeguarding training. I wish to thank all of our parishioners who have kept faith with us through this difficult time.
I wish to especially acknowledge the courage of those who have spoken of their experiences of abuse in the Church. Their stories have been difficult for us to hear but they have helped us to face up to the truth and we must honour their contribution by making our parishes, not just safe places, but also welcoming and nurturing places for all children and vulnerable persons.
I ask you to remember those who were abused and to pray for them.
+ Diarmuid Martin, Archbishop of Dublin
For the duration that the COVID level 3 restrictions are in place in Dublin, and for simplicity’s sake, we will have just one Mass at 10am each day, including Sunday, at Assumption Church. Click here to join those Masses live. The usual Saturday 7pm Vigil, and the Sunday 9.30am & 11.30am Masses, will be replaced by the Sunday 10am Mass until the restrictions are lifted. Any anniversary intentions for those usual Saturday Vigil and Sunday Masses will be included in the Sunday Mass at 10am.
You can access a whole range of other Masses, beginning at different times, by clicking here.
See below for the relevant statements and updates from Archbishop Diarmuid Martin
FURTHER NOTICE CONCERNING THE PASTORAL SITUATION IN COUNTY DUBLIN UNDER CHANGED CORONAVIRUS NORMS
19 September 2020
I am seriously concerned that many people may be underestimating the seriousness of the current situation in County Dublin and indeed now in other counties. The spread of the virus has reached serious levels and constitutes a real risk of radically increased infection within the community. In many cases, the increase in numbers is due to gatherings within households and communities.
That is the reason why the public health authorities are stressing the urgent need to reduce the number of contacts that each one of us has in this period. Reducing contacts requires a specific effort on the part of each of us to deliberately change the number of people with whom we would normally come into contact. This is as important in the current situation as the need for face masks, social distancing and handwashing.
The need to reduce contacts and the size of gatherings is also at the root of the norms that ask us to limit public worship and close Churches. It is true that due to the extraordinary effort of parishes in adapting Church buildings and reducing attendance, thank God, there has been no indication of the virus being spread in worshiping communities. However, the situation today has changed and the measures introduced, no matter how they may sadden us, are appropriate at this time.
I have seen reports quoting a Vatican document urging a rapid return to normal worship. Some are using that as an indication that the official line of the Holy See is to object to restrictions. This is a very serious distortion of what that document says. The document, as I quoted yesterday, strongly supports the application of restrictive measures and “painful decisions even to the point of suspending the participation of the faithful in the celebration of the Eucharist for a long period”, when the need is great.
I understand the disappointment of families who had been ready for the celebration of First Communion and Confirmation and find them postponed. Unfortunately, they cannot take place during the current period. Places of worship must remain closed except for private prayer as well as for limited attendance at funerals and weddings.
I am also worried about parishes taking initiatives to “get First Communions and Confirmations done”. I appreciate the pressure that families and schools can bring in parishes. We have to remember that First Communions and Confirmations are sacramental acts and must be celebrated in an appropriate liturgical context and catechetical preparation.
The idea that sacramental acts have to be done quickly and can be done outside the normal liturgical situation is false. There is no urgent need to celebrate these sacraments just because they fit into the school calendar. In many dioceses, celebrations of First Communions have yet to be begin.
Some efforts, often well intentioned, run the risk of reducing the administration of sacramental acts almost to the level of a supermarket in which you can drop in and “get the sacrament done”. This would reduce the Eucharist to a commodity. First Communion and Confirmation ought to be celebrated through personal participation in a liturgical act. Indeed, I have been hearing many very favourable comments on the small and intimately prayerful celebrations that have been taking place in most parishes and I am very appreciative of parishes who have arranged this. They show that carefully taking time produces better results that undue haste.
Saturday 19 September 2020
Covid Update from Archbishop Diarmuid Martin
FURTHER NOTICE CONCERNING THE PASTORAL SITUATION IN COUNTY DUBLIN UNDER CHANGED CORONAVIRUS NORMS
18 September 2020 – Evening
Confirmation has been received that, in the light of the very worrying increase in infection in the Dublin area, the entire County Dublin will be placed on Level 3 of the Government’s COVID-19 Resilience and National Recovery Plan, beginning at midnight tonight and for at least a three-week period.
The norms apply to all places of worship within County Dublin, including those of religious houses that are generally open to the public. They do not apply to the Churches of the Archdiocese of Dublin in Counties Wicklow, Wexford, Kildare and Laois.
Places of worship will have to remain closed from midnight tonight, except for private prayer, weddings and funerals. Attendance at wedding liturgies and funerals will be limited to 25.
Religious services can be transmitted online with no public presence. As was the case in the past, parishes should make known as soon as possible the times of the transmission of Masses online. Where an individual parish does not have the ability to transmit online, details of neighbouring parishes can be supplied. The Masses from the Pro-Cathedral are accessible on www.dublindiocese.ie and www.procathedral.ie . Time of other Masses online can be found at www.churchservices.tv
While online transmissions can play a vital role in reaching out to the sick and where it is not possible to hold public liturgies, we have to remember that no broadcast can replace personal participation with our brothers and sisters in the Eucharistic assembly that has the church building as its home. We must pray intensely that we will be able to return to public worship at the earliest possible date.
Confirmation and First Communion services (including those planned for tomorrow, Saturday) will therefore not be possible during this period and will have to be postponed. Permissions already granted to priests to celebrate Confirmations remain valid for a rescheduled date. Any celebration of these Sacraments -such as in schools or other places – constitutes public worship and is covered by this restriction and should not take place. I understand the concerns that this may bring to many families.
I am aware of the fact that these measures will be painful for many. The decisions are made to respond in the best possible way to an unforeseen and complex situation. The Holy See’s Congregation for Divine Worship in a recent letter, approved by Pope Francis, noted that restrictions should be limited in time and that as soon as circumstances permit it is urgent to return to the normality of Christian life. It also stressed unambiguously the gratitude of the Congregation to Bishops who “in listening to and collaborating with civil authorities and experts… have been prompt to make difficult and painful decisions even to the point of suspending the participation of the faithful in the celebration of the Eucharist for a long period”
Today, we find ourselves sadly in that situation once again and we are called to make painful sacrifice for the common good. The Holy See’s Letter stresses that “Aware that God never abandons the humanity He has created, and that even in the hardest trials can bear fruits of grace, we [should accept] our distance from the Lord’s altar as a time of Eucharistic fasting, useful for us to rediscover its vital importance, beauty and immeasurable preciousness”.
I appeal to all to enter into this difficult period with that spirit. We must pray that we can soon return to the Eucharist “with a purified heart, with a renewed amazement, with an increased desire to meet the Lord, to be with him, to receive him and to bring him to our brothers and sisters with a life full of faith, love and hope.”
As you are aware the annual collection for Crosscare was planned to take place over this weekend. Please encourage people not to overlook this important collection. Donations can be made online at www.crosscare.ie
18th September 2020
Reopening for Public Mass
We are all looking forward to gathering together again but in a safe way. Over the last number of weeks we have been working hard to prepare our church at Assumption for the ‘new normal’ so that we can open safely. We believe we have done our best to adhere to all the advice and guidelines, and to provide all that is required for people to feel safe in our church. Guidelines now state that, depending on the size of the church, the capacity should be determined by the ability to be able to socially distance within the church. We estimate our capacity to be 100 people.
Weekday Masses will be at 10am, Monday to Saturday. The church will remain open, Monday to Friday, until 3pm for people to come and pray privately and light a candle. However, funerals, as they occur, may sometimes limit access.
Sunday Masses are on Saturday, 7pm (Vigil) and on Sunday at 9.30am and 11.30am.
Clearly all of this can change at any time depending on the public health advice, or in the event of a second surge or a spike in virus numbers.
Remember, the obligation to attend Sunday Mass remains suspended. Due to the limit on numbers it may not always be possible to accommodate everyone and people may be disappointed if the capacity limit is reached by the time they come. We have provided new speakers in the large vestibule area, and outside the main front doors, so that people outside can listen to the Mass, and, in those circumstances, Holy Communion will be brought out to you. Or course, our webcam continues to broadcast all our Masses live online.
We presume that those who come are responsible, are symptom free, are Covid19 risk aware and enter the church on their own responsibility.
We ask that people…..
*If you not feeling well, or have any symptoms, please do not come to the Church.
*Enter only by the main front doors and exit by the same doors, or by the doors appropriate to the section you are seated in. Maintain a social distance of two metres, at all times, from people from households other than your own.
*Sanitise your hands on the way in and out. There are sanitizing points inside each of the doorways (where the empty holy water fonts are), and more in the larger inner vestibule.
*If the church looks to be at capacity, or you feel it’s uncomfortably full for you, please leave. There are speakers in the outer vestibule, and also speakers relaying sound outside the front of the church.
*The church is subdivided into 4 sections – A, B, C & D – and clearly marked as such. Know what section you are seated in, and use the communion stations, and exits, also marked A, B, C & D as appropriate to the section you are seated in. For example, if seated in section ‘A’, go to communion station ‘A’ to receive Holy Communion, and exit the church through doors marked ‘A’. Please do not move between, or cross over to, other sections.
*The wearing of face coverings is now strongly recommended for those who are able to wear them, but please wear and handle them properly.
*Practice social distancing. Every second pew is closed. Those available for seating are clearly marked with the maximum number allowed in each pew (2 to 4, or a family/household, depending on the length of the pew) and there are markings where people from different households should sit in the pew so as to keep an appropriate social distance.
*A one way system will be in operation for receiving Holy Communion (only receive in the hand). More detailed instructions will be given just before holy communion time. Follow the directions of stewards, and the directional signs within the church.
*Please do not stand in, or block, or congregate in doorways, exits or entrances.
*Expect the availability of toilet facilities to be limited.
*The church will be sprayed and sanitised after every service. The pews may be damp for a short period while they dry.
*Continue to maintain social distancing in the car park.
*If you have any underlying medical conditions it may be best not to attend the church and to continue watching Mass via our web cam.
We are appealing also for volunteers for the stewards and cleaning teams that will be required. Thank you to those very dedicated people who have helped get us to this point but, clearly, we will need more as the church has to be cleaned after every gathering.
May our Mother of Perpetual Help guide us and protect us.
We would like to thank all our parishioners, and others beyond, who join us for Mass, everyday at 10am, via the webcam at www.assumptionballyfermot.ie, and who have contacted us with many messages of kindness and support. You and your families are remembered in our prayers and Masses during this difficult time.
If people wish to donate towards the maintenance and upkeep of our parish and church, there is a facility to do that via a link on our website and Facebook page. Just press on the ‘Donate’ button and follow the instructions. Otherwise, people can post, or drop a donation in via the letterbox, to The Parish House, 197 Kylemore Road, Ballyfermot, Dublin D10 P659.
Webcam Difficulties – If you ever have difficulty accessing our webcam through our parish website, try this link, via the Church Services site, for an alternative way of getting to the same place.
Crosscare COVID-19 (Coronavirus) update
Crosscare’s focus has always been to serve the most vulnerable in our society. During this crisis we are working hard to ensure that the essential services we provide remain available to our service users while operating in line with Government and HSE advice to ensure that our service users and staff are protected.
While some of our face to face services have had to be adapted to meet HSE requirements, as much as possible we are continuing to provide supports through other remote means including phone and web based technologies.
Our Homeless Services including our residential facility for young people are open and operating normally and in line with HSE guidelines. We are working closely with the HSE, DRHE, Tusla and other government bodies, local authorities and colleagues in other similar organisations to ensure that our service users’ needs are supported and our people are kept safe.
Crosscare opened a new inner city 100 bed cocooning services for people who are homeless to keep them safe from the virus.
Our Food Banks remain open to support those most in need at this difficult time and we have made changes at a local level to ensure that the health of all involved is safeguarded.
Close to 7,000 emergency food parcels have been delivered to vulnerable individuals and families as a crisis response since the pandemic began.
Our Community Cafes remain open providing takeaway services to protect the health of our teams and customers.
Our Carecall team are operating a normal service making calls daily to all our clients.
Youth services had to close initially and staff were redeployed to help keep the essential food and residential services running. Services are now open with a greater emphasis on on line and telephone work and working more intensely with smaller numbers of particularly vulnerable young people.
Our Drugs and Alcohol Programme team are carrying out online sessions with their clients.
Our Voluntary Clubs team continue to link in with and support our volunteers by phone and other web-based technologies.
Please support this important work if you can by taking an envelope from the back of the Church or donating on-line at www.crosscare.ie
COVID-19 community supports are now in place to ensure vulnerable members of the community are reached and helped at this time.
These comprise the local authority, Health Service Executive, County Champions, An Post, Community Welfare Service, An Garda Síochána, other State organisations, charities and other stakeholders.
These Dedicated helplines are focused specifically on ensuring that the cocooning elderly, vulnerable members of the community or those living alone can access deliveries of groceries, medicine and fuels.
Click here to see a list of these services.