Bishop of Kilmore Martin Hayes.

Still no date for Communions and Confirmations

The timing as to when outstanding Holy Communions and Confirmations can be celebrated in the Diocese of Kilmore remains up in the air.

Bishop Martin Hayes when asked by The Anglo-Celt about the issue on Friday in Drumlane.

"We don’t know at this stage. We are dependent on the Government advice," he said.

The bishop declined to comment on reports that some priests in the diocese proceeded with some Holy Communions in recent weeks despite a direction from government and their bishop to the contrary in light of concerns over the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19.

The news may come as a disappointment to some parents hoping the ceremonies would go ahead in September when the new school term begins.

Bishop Hayes did say however: "I would be hopeful that we could go ahead when the figures go down. While we would like to be together, the consequences unfortunately are that, if we do get together and if a person gets Covid and it results in them being seriously ill, that would be my concern at the end of the day.

"I do sympathise with parents and with their children and with their hopes around Holy Communion and Confirmation. My heart goes out to them, but just at the moment it is a risk."

It will be a year this September since Bishop Hayes was consecrated as Bishop of Kilmore. At that time, he told the Celt he wished to visit all the parishes in the Diocese but the pandemic put a stop to that.

"I forget how many lockdowns we have had at this stage but there was the lockdown from Christmas to May time and that prevented me from getting out to the parishes,” said Bishop Hayes, adding that he tried to celebrate mass for various parishes via webcam to compensate.

“That at least gave me a sense of connection with people and they had some kind of connection with me,” he added.

"In more recent times, I focussed on the Leitrim side of the Diocese and consequently I have been in places like Ballinamore, Kinlough, Drumreilly and Manorhamilton.

"We are here today at the archeological survey in Drumlane and this is actually my first time meeting people on the ground. It is a great opportunity and it is something I have missed and looking forward to doing into the future," concluded Bishop Martin Hayes.