The Bishop of Limerick and Killaloe, the Right Revd Kenneth Kearon, has received letters from many clergy in the diocese, saying they think it is appropriate to cancel all services for the next few weeks.
A significant factor in his considerations is the fact that if a church opens for services then those most loyal will feel duty bound to go to church, even if they are among the most vulnerable.
In addition, Bishop Kenneth has been made aware that the Roman Catholic Dioceses of Limerick, Killaloe and Kerry have cancelled all Masses for the next three Sundays.
In the light of this, he recommends to all clergy and parishes in these dioceses that we cancel all Sunday services as soon as practicable – in other words, from this Sunday, 15 March 2020. This includes Sunday services in the Askeaton and Kilnaughtin (Tarbert) on Sunday 15 March and in Castletown and Rathkeale on Sunday 22 March, as well as the planned Saint Patrick’s Day service in Askeaton on Tuesday 17 March.
I plan to post online and on Facebook the Sermons, Readings and Prayers (including the weekly sick list) and the Readings that would otherwise have been used or preached on each Sunday.
A full church service is available on the Church of Ireland website, and church services are normally available on television and radio.
Meanwhile, the Bishop plans to write to clergy again with advice for Easter Day services. I shall review the dates for our Easter Vestry meetings in consultation with parish secretaries and the diocesan secretary.
Please keep the bishop, the diocese, the parish and one another in your prayers, and please pray for our country.
I shall pray for you, as I hope you shall pray for me.