Well-known priest urges people not to congregate outside churches, graveyards and cemeteries at funerals

Priest outlines the dangers associated with gatherings in light of current transmission rate

Well-known priest urges people not to congregate outside churches, graveyards and cemeteries at funerals

Priest urges people to be conscious of rapid rate of coronavirus

A well-known priest has said that while he truly understands and appreciates people wanting to be present for the bereaved, in their time of suffering, it is important that large groups do not congregate outside churches, graveyards or in cemeteries due to the increasing transmission rate of the coronavirus.

Father John Joe Duffy said that our traditions dictate that we attend wakes, funeral masses, services, burials and that we have all known the comfort, goodness and kindness of those who have walked with us and stood with us on many sad days.

"This tradition/custom is for us a very important part of dealing with death and has being a tremendous comfort, consolation and strength," Father Duffy said.

He added that new realities face us in light of the rapid transmission rate of the coronavirus and we must be more careful than ever before.

The Creeslough-based curate said: "It is plain to see, that far too many are attending cemeteries and standing out and congregating far too close at arrivals and removals of remains at churches. This beautiful and consoling custom is no longer safe for the bereaved families and for those attending. Time and time again, I have witnessed that too many people are gathering and congregating too close together."

Father Duffy said he feels the public health pleas is not getting through and that it is
dangerous to gather in large numbers and to gather close together.

"Covid-19 can spread as easy outdoors as it can indoors, it can spread as easy among a group of
people outside as it can among families within the home. This new British variant is many times
more infectious than anything we have seen, so we need to be much more careful for the safety of
others and ourselves," he urged.

Father Duffy asked people to take care to avoid congregating and gathering in large numbers outside churches cemeteries and graveyards until it is safe to do so. 

He said that space outside the church could be used by family who cannot enter the building due to the current restrictions. 

"People may stand along the route, a safe distance from each other, from the house to the Church and from the Church to the cemetery. It is much safer at this time to send a card, make a phone call or send a message. The next month will be critical for all of us, I urge you all to stay safe, stay at home and follow the public health guidelines," he said. 

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