Pupils from An Gael Scoil Phortlaoise following their First Holy Communion at St. Peter and Paul's Church, Portlaoise in 2014
First Holy Communions and Confirmations face be deferred until the autumn in Laois, Kildare, Offaly and Carlow due to uncertainty around Covid-19 restrictions according to the Dioceses of Kildare and Leighlin.
In a statement, the Diocese said that Bishop Denis Nulty issued a statement on November 25 asking parishes not to make decisions about dates for any celebrations of sacraments until February/March of 2021 at the earliest.
It said he also proposed that First Holy Communions be scheduled for May at the earliest and that there be no celebration of Confirmation until June at the earliest.
The Diocese updated the Leinster Express in the wake of a decision by Bishops in the west of Ireland to defer all Confirmations to the autumn and request that their parishes do the same with Holy Communions
"The diocese (of Kildare & Leighlin) held a series of Zoom gatherings with teachers, priests, parish team members, sacramental coordinators and parish catechists in late February to discuss preparations for the celebration of Confirmation, First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion.
"The focus of these meetings was to offer a pathway of preparation so that children are as well prepared as they can possibly be to celebrate the sacraments when it is safe to do so.
"It was acknowledged that the situation is very fluid and that we must await and abide by public health advice before any decision to celebrate sacraments can be made. It was considered unlikely that celebrations will be possible in May and June unless there is a significant change in this advice.
"The possibility that sacramental celebrations may not happen until September 2021 at the earliest was accepted by those present," said the statement.
The Diocese outlined what Bishop Denis Nulty told those who attended
"There is no closing date on the celebration of sacraments and we want to be sure that families can safely celebrate these very important milestones on a faith journey not only in the church but, also afterwards at home...if this means we have to wait a little longer then surely, something this important is worth the wait and will be all the more special because we have waited so long and prepared so well," he said.
A video message from Bishop Denis has been shared with all families preparing for Confirmation and can be seen below.