A well-known Donegal priest has pleaded with people in the county to stop attending funerals and gathering outside churches saying it is helping to spread the Covid virus.
Fr John Joe Duffy said that while he appreciated it is a great custom to console bereaved people we must stop immediately.
The Creeslough-based cleric said he has seen time and time again that too many people are gathering outside churches for funerals.
And he warned that this practice, despite being outdoors, is still helping to spread the deadly virus.
He said “One of the many things that we are great at in this country at is being there for people in their pain and suffering and we truly are the best at that and showing respect for those who have died.
“I appreciate the long tradition it is to attend wakes, funeral Masses/services and burials and we have all known the comfort, goodness and kindness of those who have walked with us and stood with us on many sad days.
“This tradition/custom is for us a very important part of dealing with death and has been a tremendous comfort, consolation and strength.”
He added that sadly new realities have to be faced up to in light of the current pandemic which is worsening at an alarming rate and which we all have to take heed of.
He said “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.
“This beautiful and consoling custom is no longer safe for the bereaved families and for those attending.”
Fr Duffy said that time and time again, he has witnessed too many people gathering and congregating too close together outside churches.
He said “Despite public health pleas, the message is not sinking in and it is not getting through that it is dangerous to gather in large numbers and to gather close together.
“COVID-19 can spread as easily outdoors as it can indoors, it can spread as easy among a group of people outside as it can among families within the home.
“This new British variant is many times more infectious than anything we have seen, so we need to be much more careful for the safety of others and ourselves.”
He said he wants to appeal to the public to the public to find other ways of showing their respects to bereaved families rather than turning up for funerals.
“I am urging people to take care to avoid what we are so accustomed to for the next few months and avoid congregating and gathering in large numbers outside Churches and in Cemeteries/graveyards and leave those spaces for families who cannot enter the Church.
“People might stand at good distances along the route in safe places from the house to the Church and from the Church to the cemetery.
“It is much safer at this time to send a card, make a phone call, send a message, add your condolences to the death notices on RIP.ie.
“The next month will be critical for all of us, I urge to stay safe, stay at home and follow the public health guidelines.”Tags: