Drive-by confessions and outdoor masses could be on the cards as the Catholic Church charts its way out of Covid-19 lockdown.

These are in addition to bringing services to hundreds of thousands of people who are accessing prayer and Masses online since the introduction of Covid-19 restrictions in March.

While any return to normal service will be "slow, gradual and evolutionary", Archbishop Eamon Martin, Catholic Primate of All Ireland, is open to suggestions for creative ways to bring people together once again.

Churches are not due to reopen for ordinary services until July 20, while weddings and baptisms will be subject to social distancing from that date. 

Drive-in confessions are already on offer in one Dublin parish and the Archbishop said there is no reason they couldn’t be extended to other areas.

Outdoor masses are not currently an option but the Archbishop is open to the idea in the coming months, weather permitting.

He sympathised with those affected by cancelled weddings and baptisms and the restrictions imposed on funerals, but said we must be realistic about how quickly normality can resume.

Archbishop Martin said there's "simply no way" first communions or the blessing of graves can happen at the moment, but added that creative solutions, such as priests offering online services, have been a huge success, offering a "lifeline" to those cut off by the Covid-19 restrictions.

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