THE reopening of churches for private prayer has been widely welcomed by parishioners.
Churches across Tyrone have reopened to allow parishioners to visit for personal prayer.
Most Church buildings in Tyrone have been closed since March 28th by public order, but strict measures have been put in place and the cleaning regime in the churches has been increased to enable the re-opening for private prayer.
Churches in Greencastle parish, Termonmaguirc parish and Drumragh Parish are among those across Tyrone which have been reopened.
The Sacred Heart Church in Omagh is now open daily from 11am and 6pm, and the reopening has been widely welcomed by local people.
Parish Priest Fr Eugene Hasson said, “The reopening has been warmly welcomed and people appreciate the opportunity to come and pray again in the church.
“Most people are following the directions which have been given.
“We have a tremendous volunteer group of cleaners who sanitise and keep the place clean and that keeps us all safe in the current time.
“We are still in a period of great uncertainty and they do a very good job so we are very lucky.
“There has been a very positive response to the reopening.”
Fr Hasson says Sacred Heart Church has always been a source of love and care, and the re-opening of the church offers comfort to parishioners.
In order to open safely a number of safety measures were put in place at the church.
Anti-bacterial hand gel has been provided, parishioners are urged to follow the one way system and observe social distancing of at least six feet during their visit.
The accessible areas of the church will be sanitised twice daily for safety.
Fr Hasson said the measures have been successfully introduced and thanked the visitors for adhering to them while in the church.
“Everything worked out very well and I am very pleased with how well it actually worked out.
“It is co-operation of everyone which makes the difference.
“People understand the seriousness of what we are going through and they know this virus is not over yet.
“We are going through different stages, and please God, we can keep going the way we are,” concluded Fr Hasson.
Archbishop Eamon Martin to the Archdiocese of Armagh and Diocese of Dromore which covers areas such as Beragh, Carrickmore, Loughmacrory, Kildress and Beragh has thanked parishioners for their co-operation.
He said, “I want to thank you for the work you are doing at local level to plan for the full “re-opening” of parish life and worship.
“Please work closely with your priests so that your parish stands ready to respond quickly when the public health authorities tell us it is safe to begin gathering together again for Mass inside our churches,” said Bishop Martin.