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*Bishop Fintan Monahan closes the doors of Ennis Cathedral. Photograph: John Mangan

An annual pilgrimage carried out by the Killaloe Diocese to Lourdes has been cancelled while half of its priests are currently cocooning.

Due to depart at the end of June, the decision has been made to defer the Lourdes pilgrimage to June 2021.

Parish offices were informed of the conclusion made “with profound regret”. Consultations between the Diocese and Joe Walsh tours took place following the public health restrictions recommended by the NPHET last week.

All current bookings remain in place for 2021 “so that there will be no financial loss to those who are booked,” a spokesperson for the Diocese stated. No announcement has been made as of yet regarding the planned Autumn pilgrimage.

Meanwhile half of the priests in the Killaloe Diocese are currently cocooning as 34 of its 70 priests are following Government measures. This includes some retired and others in nursing home care. Several priests have kept parishioners updated with online masses, online prayers and video updates on social media.

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