RTÉ to air daily mass during Covid-19 emergency
Churches throughout the country have closed in an effort to contain the spread of coronavirus.
RTÉ will broadcast live mass on weekdays from Thursday (19 March) until at least 29 March in response to Covid-19-related restrictions on public gatherings, which have affected church services throughout the country.
Church services in a number of denominations have been affected by the restrictions and churches have been closed and services cancelled as a result. Many have offered broadcasts of church services that can be accessed online in lieu of public gatherings.
From tomorrow, until at least 29 March, when public health measures will be reviewed by the government, RTÉ will air mass every weekday at 10.30am from St Eunan’s and St Columba’s Cathedral, Letterkenny, on RTÉ News Now.
Mass will be followed each day by a short religious message from representatives of Ireland’s other faith communities and Christian denominations.
RTÉ News Now can be accessed on Saorview (channel 21), Sky (521), Virgin Media (200), Eir (517) as well as via the RTÉ Player, the RTÉ News Now app and via RTÉ.ie/news. The mass broadcast will also be available on the RTÉ Player, both live and on catch-up.
Furthermore, RTÉ will also continue to broadcast a diverse range of Christian worship every Sunday at 11am, on TV on RTÉ One and on radio on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra/LW252 and, in Irish, on RTÉ Raidio Na Gaeltachta.
A short programme on RTÉ One on Sunday, 5 April will mark the Jewish festival of Passover and the Sikh festival of Vaisakhi will be marked with a programme on RTÉ One on Saturday, 11 April. Both programmes will be broadcast at 5.35pm.
Commenting on the mass broadcasts, RTÉ’s Head of Religious Content, Roger Childs, said: “We are aware that, either through self-isolation or Government restrictions, many people are unable to come together to worship at precisely the time when they feel most in need of community, comfort, encouragement and prayer.
“Facilitated by the web-streaming service churchservices.tv, the Bishop of Raphoe, Dr Alan McGuckian, and Cathedral Administrator, Monsignor Kevin Gillespie, have kindly agreed to celebrate a Mass every weekday morning, which RTÉ is very happy to share with viewers, as part of our commitment to public service during the current emergency. We want people of all faiths to know that RTÉ is with them in spirit.”
“Because so many churches have taken the decision to cease public worship during the current crisis, to minimise social contact and contagion, Bishop Alan McGuckian has promised that priests in his diocese will continue to celebrate Mass for a virtual congregation.”