The parish priest of Buncrana says he is “truly sorry not to be able to facilitate everyone” for Christmas Mass this year, with tickets for THIRTEEN separate ceremonies all now gone.
Fr Francis Bradley said it was not possible to accommodate everyone due to the covid-19 restrictions, despite all the additional Masses, with tickets snapped up within a few hours of being made available last week.
In total, around 1,100 ticket-holders will be able to attend a series of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Masses at St Mary’s Chapel, Cockhill, St Mary’s Oratory, Buncrana and Star of the Sea Church, in Desertegney.
However Fr Bradley said the strict limits on congregations during the pandemic meant it was inevitable that some would be left disappointed this Christmas.
“We are truly sorry not to be able to facilitate everyone. The government restrictions on numbers dictate that we cannot accommodate more and it is unfortunate that not everyone’s needs can be catered for.”
“Our thirteen Masses will accommodate around 1,100 people. And whilst we are glad to be open and able to facilitate so many, this is a small number by comparison with the number who would attend Mass at Christmas.”
Fr Bradley said there is no prospect of extra Masses being added at this stage despite the demand, because the Church simply doesn’t have the personnel.
“Unfortunately, we cannot put on more Masses. We will be stretched as we are, for there are so many more than the priest needed to have the Mass: stewards, music, readers, Eucharistic Ministers, sanitisers.”
“We hope that everyone will understand that we wish it were otherwise, but that, given the circumstances in which we are living, this is the best we can do.”
The Buncrana PP said parishioners have been very understanding, with many who couldn’t get a ticket for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day instead opting to go to another Mass in and around those dates.
“We are indebted to so many for their understanding.”
He said Buncrana parish is lucky to have two zones in the larger two chapels – “otherwise our numbers would have been more restricted.”
Fr Bradley also reminded mass-goers that webcams will live stream Christmas services from both Cockhill and the Oratory for those who are unable to attend in person.
“Whether you’re able to get to Mass or not this Christmas, we wish you all a very Happy Christmas,” he added.Tags: