Dear Parents/Guardians,

June 30th marked the official beginning of the summer holidays for school children, but with schools closed for learning from March, it must seem like those holidays began ages ago. With schools closed, many parents/guardians had to step into the role of home teacher, a role for which they had no official training, yet one which they took to with great spirit and commitment AND great success.

What the new school year will bring we are unsure, each day directives are modified or changed, with our principals striving to work out those changes, in our own local setting, to the best of their ability. The working out of such decisions are always made with the children in mind.

Regarding the celebration of First Holy Communion, I acknowledge that the postponement of the celebration during the lockdown was a source of major disappointment to yourselves and your child. First Holy Communion signifies an important milestone in a child’s faith journey.

That is why we, the priests of the area, who have special responsibility for your children’s spiritual development will, in late August, when the principals are back at school, meet with them and all concerned parties to discuss the celebrations of the sacraments in the school year 2020/2021. The priests of the parishes within our pastoral community are presently discussing and trying to formulate a way forward. Their discussions will include consultation with the principals and staff of our primary schools, and of course you, dear parents.

By late August, we will have a better sense of the way forward, and will be able to identify how First Holy Communion will be celebrated in a safe and suitable manner. It may well be the case, that there will still be a restriction on numbers congregating in churches at that time also. The plan for the celebration of First Holy Communion will be informed by Government and Diocesan advice in place at the time.

It is impossible to announce the date/s for the celebration of First Holy Communion at this stage. Over the summer months, each parish will have to take a series of small steps to re-build the timetable within. We wish to thank you for your patience in recent months, and would ask that you continue to be patient. In late August/early September, we will be in a position to provide you with a more accurate sense of the way forward.

By that stage we will, hopefully, have a fuller picture of the directives and norms for the new school year. Until then let us enjoy the summer and the sun (!!!!) recharging our batteries and looking forward to September when we will be on surer footing.

Fr Brian