Bishop Keenan has written this letter to the people of the Diocese of Paisley.
My Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Following the guidelines issued by the Bishops Conference Covid-19 Infection Control Group, we are delighted to announce the opening of our churches from Sunday 28th June.
While other parts of the country will re-open sooner, we are particularly aware that the virus has impacted our local community more heavily and tragically. The people of Paisley diocese were disproportionately harmed by it and, sadly we now know, Inverclyde had the highest level of infection and deaths in Scotland. In light of this it is good for us to be sensitive, steady and careful in our approach, ensuring our people’s trust that all our parishes are fully prepared for re-opening, with volunteers and PPE in place.
From Sunday 28th onwards, churches may also open on weekdays for limited periods of time if all the sanitation and social distancing guidelines laid down by the Covid-19 Group can be followed. Parish priests who are not comfortable that such guidelines are in place will be supported in their decisions to hold off for up to another week after Sunday 28th June.
All of us who have been looking forward to the day of our churches re-opening, clergy and faithful, are glad at this news. I know that those who hoped our doors would be open immediately for private prayers from Monday will understand our short delay and the particular considerations in play in our diocese that make it more appropriate for us.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank Canon Tom Boyle, Monsignor Gerry Gallagher and Father Paul Brady who are our Covid-19 Infection Group representatives at national and diocesan level for all their good work and continuing to advise us well as things develop around the other dioceses.
May God bless you all as we continue to pray for each other.
Bishop of Paisley