First Communions will not go ahead in Cork and Ross Diocese next month.
The Bishop of the Diocese of Cork and Ross has advised that the ceremonies will not go ahead in June and that no provisional date should be set yet given ongoing Covid-19 public health restrictions.
During the week, Bishop Fintan Gavin wrote to the parents and guardians of children preparing to make their first holy communion this year to advise that the sacrament and celebrations will not proceed in June.
The decision will impact thousands of children and their families attending dozens of primary schools across the diocese of Cork and Ross, which includes Cork City, West Cork, and most of mid-Cork on the south side of the River Lee.
In the letter, Bishop Gavin said he hoped the children had already celebrated their first confession or planned to do so in the comings weeks as part of preparations for first communion.
He said, however, that first communion celebrations would not proceed in June in light of the ongoing Covid-19 situation and that it was not possible at this stage to set a provisional date.
“Recently we have been advised by the government that celebrations of First Holy Communions and Confirmations should not take place in May and June due to health guidance. We await further guidance from the government as to when this can safely happen,” Bishop Gavin wrote.
“When it is possible to fix dates I will be in touch with you, your family, your parish and your school. At the moment dates should not be fixed not even provisionally,” he added.
Previously, the Bishop had advised parents "not to purchase Communion outfits" due to the uncertainty over the ceremonies proceeding. At that time, Bishop Gavin said the events would only happen when it became possible "to gather children safely".
The decision comes as the government announced steps on Friday to further relax restrictions over the summer months.
Earlier this month a ban on church services was lifted to allow up to 50 people to attend mass, funerals or weddings, although the number of people attending wedding receptions was limited to six people indoorsor 15 people outdoors.
From June 7, up to 25 people will be able to attend a wedding reception and that number will rise to 50 from July 5.