At the start of this week, the Bishop of Cork, Dr Paul Colton, and his wife Susan took the decision, before the announcement of the cancellation of St Patrick’s Day parades, with great regret, that they could not host their annual Saint Patrick’s Day reception at the Bishop’s Palace in Cork this year. In a letter to their list of more than 350 invited guests they said that ‘with great disappointment in our hearts, we have reluctantly concluded that, for the first time in my 21 years as bishop, we should cancel this year’s gathering in our home.’
Every year for decades, in what many say is a highlight of their St Patrick’s Day in Cork, guests representing every aspect of civic, community and voluntary life in Cork, led by the Lord Mayor of Cork and the City Council, together with TDs and Senators, have been invited to the home of the Bishop across the road from St Fin Barre’s Cathedral.
Bishop Colton said:
We realise that we have been asked not to make unilateral decisions about cancelling events, but this is an invitation to our home, and it is also clear that we all, as organisers of local events, have responsibilities when organising events such as this. We are not doctors or scientists but, in the light of the public advice given by such experts to date, and reflecting on the risks in our setting, bringing together so many people in a confined area seems to us to be neither logical nor prudent at this time.
We look forward to welcoming our guests again next year to this very special occasion.
As a result also, in consultation with the Dean of Cork, the Very Reverend Nigel Dunne, it was decided that the Civic Service itself would not go ahead either in the traditional format or time.
Subject to any other advice that may be forthcoming from the authorities in coming days, the St Patrick’s Day Eucharist (said) will take place at 12 noon on that day when the small Cathedral congregation of weekday worshippers ordinarily attends.