During the past number of days, a number of bishops have issued statements in relation to the celebration of the Sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation in their dioceses. I have been contacted by some media organisations asking for clarification around the celebration of the Sacraments in the Diocese of Achonry. On the 24thFebruary this year I issued a statement saying:
‘In consultation with the Priests’ Council, I have decided to postpone the celebration of the Sacraments of Confirmation, First Penance and First Holy Communion in Achonry Diocese until the Autumn. My hope is that this will give our schools and families more time for the preparation of the children and it will enable families to gather in a safer way to celebrate the Sacraments when the majority of us are vaccinated and restrictions have eased.
I emphasise the reason for this decision is to bring clarity at this early stage for all concerned and to enable the children have a meaningful and memorable celebration with their families, friends, and parish community when it is safer to do so. I thank the families, teachers, parishioners, and priests for all they are doing to prepare the children for the Sacraments during this difficult year. All of the above is, of course, subject to public health advice.’
Following on from this, Confirmations are due to start in the diocese on the 12th of September 2021. As I understand parishes have postponed First Communion Ceremonies until September also, therefore the celebration of these Sacraments in August was never planned for our diocese. As the vaccination programme continues, we look forward to celebrating the Sacraments with our children and their families in a safe and meaningful way from mid-September onwards.
In the meantime, may we continue to keep vigilant around the virus so that we can emerge out of this difficult time safe and well.
With kind regards and every blessing,
Bishop of Achonry.