THE CATHOLIC Church has confirmed that funeral masses will be postponed until after the coronavirus pandemic is over.
According to a statement made via the Irish Bishop's conference, funeral masses will be celebrated at a later date, with the body of the deceases instead taken directly to the place of burial.
The plans come as part of stricter new guidelines offered up by the Catholic Church as a means of slowing the outbreak of Covid-19.
Under the new guidelines, there will no longer be face-to-face confessions while both baptisms and marriages have been halted indefinitely until the crisis is over.
In instances where parents are anxious about the health of a child, they are advised to bless them with a crucifix or their own hand and the priest may pray with them over the phone or via Skype.
In addition to this, any priest aged 70 or over or any with a pre-existing health condition will be excused from frontline pastoral ministry during the pandemic.
House calls have been cancelled while hospital visits will only be conductd by full-time trained hospital chaplains.
They will also be subject to hospital management regulation.
Sunday and Weekday Masses and other moments of prayer will be accessible via livestreaming. A schedule of these is available on the homepage of www.clogherdiocese.ie
Commenting on the changes, Bishop Larry Duffy said: "I too share your fears, your unease, your worries and the sense of loss in these days. This is a very strange and challenging time for us as a Church, as a country and as a world family.”
He continued: "When I was appointed bishop just over a year ago, I could never have imagined I would have to take such radical actions and to have to take them so swiftly. But we all have to make sacrifices for the common good because we have a responsibility to each other. Truthfully, our fate and the fate of others is in our own hands.
"While I fully understand the impact of these measures on the life of local parishes and on parishioners, by taking these measures now, we will ensure that we can return to sacramental life as soon as possible."