Reopening of St Joseph’s SMA Church, Blackrock Road, Cork

St. Joseph’s SMA Parish Church, Blackrock Road, will reopen for Public Masses on Monday 29 June 2020.

Weekday Masses, Monday – Saturday will resume at 7.15am and 10am. 

Weekend Masses will resume at 7pm at the Saturday Vigil and 10am and 12 noon on Sundays.

Bishop Fintan Gavin, Bishop of Cork and Ross, has issued a Message concerning the safe reopening of churches in the diocese. Click on the following YouTube or Vimeo links to hear Bishop Fintan’s message.

In order for our Church to reopen and for all our Parishioners, Priests, Sacristian, Ministers of the Word, Ministers of the Eucharist, Collectors… to return safely, the following measures will be implemented:

  1. Arriving at our Church for Masses

Due to the current Government guidelines regarding COVID-19, social-distancing of 2 metres must be maintained at all times.  In order for our Parish to maintain social-distancing, there will be 42 pews available to parishioners.  As a result of this, parishioners will have to book their seat in the available pews for weekend Masses through the Reception on 021-429-2871. They will be required to give, in advance, their name, contact details and how many people will be attending with them and this will be logged in a book.  

There will be no need to book for midweek Masses.

When Parishioners arrive for the weekend Masses, they will be met by a Steward who will ask them to sanitize their hands and will also check that their names are on the  list.  They will be shown to their available pew.  Every second pew will be sectioned off.  Only 1 person will be permitted to sit in the pews in front of the Altar unless they arrive as a unit of 2 from the same household.  The remaining long-pews behind will be prioritised for 2 people (not necessarily from the same household) or families who live in the same household. All pews will be marked with signage for parishioners to sit on.  

All Ministers of the Word and Ministers of the Eucharist who are rostered on the weekend Masses will not be required to book a seat.  A designated section will be available to them at the side of the Altar.  Any family members who come to Mass with them on their rostered weekend will be required to book a seat in advance as they cannot sit together. 

Families who have Mass intentions booked for weekend Masses will be informed of the new changes.

No Parishioner will be allowed entry to the Weekend Masses without prior booking through Reception.

In order to facilitate the smooth transitioning for the reopening of our Church, volunteers will be needed to act as Stewards

All Ministers of the Word and Ministers of the Eucharist and Collectors who will be rostered at the Weekend Masses should make themselves available for these positions. It is suggested that 2 Stewards should be placed at the entrance to the Church as they will be able to work together and support each other. 

It is recommended that all Stewards should wear face masks.  There will only be 1 entrance to the Church which will be via the main front entrance. This door will be shut after everybody has entered the Church and will be reopened after Mass. The side door will remain closed at all times and will only be opened after Mass.  The Stewards will help to facilitate this.

  1. Holy Communion

All Ministers of the Eucharist will be required to sanitize their hands and to wear face masks which they will need to supply themselves. 

Parishioners will be asked to remain in their pews for Holy Communion and the Celebrant and 2 Ministers of the Eucharist will come to them in order to distribute the Holy Communion.  Marking out pews for families will provide ease of access to the Ministers of the Eucharist to distribute Holy Communion to them. 

  1. Indoor Church Collections

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, no collection plates will be used.  Instead a money box will be placed at both doors in the Church and Parishioners will be encouraged to place a donation when they enter or leave the Church. Stewards and the Collectors will supervise this. 

  1. Sanitizing the Church

Strict hygiene measures will need to be adhered to at all times. Cleaning products and hand gloves will be made available at all Masses. At the end of each Mass, the Celebrant will encourage all Parishioners to clean their pew as they leave. 

Fr Alphonse Sekongo SMA PP and the Parish Council members thank you all for your support, care and cooperation. Together we shall win this battle of the Covid-19.

Keep safe and well.