All across the country this weekend people are dreaming, making plans, thinking about what they can do, when they can travel and visit family and friends, at the heart of this dream is our desire to be with those we love. More than anything we are social beings and the deprivation, the hardship of being cut off from others has been a deeply painful and challenging aspect of the whole Covid 19 era.

While people have been fantastic, remaining strong and positive, looking out for others and appreciating the work of the frontline workers, we have been praying for this day, a good news day.

I haven’t seen a single member of my family since August of last year, and have rarely eaten in company since Christmas, so yes, I too am dying to see, hug and hold, those I love. Bring it on!

The atmosphere in the church building during these months has been so strange, eerily quiet, doors closed, masses devoid of parishioners, not a cough, a child crying, or a dropped coin, just silence. Hopefully that is coming to an end now and God willing we will never have to close again.

Like every other sector of society, we will have a gradual return to parish life. The headlines today speak of up to 50 people being allowed attend religious services and we will work towards doing what is permitted in a safe, secure and supportive way. Hopefully by next weekend we can be more specific about the schedule of masses, the numbers and return of sacraments alongside mass.

It goes without saying that we are deeply grateful to all the staff, priests and parishioners who have literally kept the show on the road during the past 15 months and we are very hopeful that many of ministry and leadership groups will reactivate and carry on their excellent work in the months ahead.