Catholic bishops are drawing up radical new plans for parishes to hold Sunday services without priests.
The Irish Catholic newspaper says that communities will have religious gatherings led by lay people instead.
The action is deemed necessary as the number of priests continues to decline and grow old.
It follows reports that a nun delivered a liturgy and distributed Holy Communion in a Wicklow church last Sunday when no priest turned up to say Mass.
A spokesperson for Archbishop Diarmuid Martin told the Irish Catholic that it was a one-off event, and that the permission of the Archbishop should have been sought.