Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bring your own holy water: priest

BBC NEWS | Northern Ireland

A shortage of priests in the Derry diocese means people will have to bring their own holy water on Cemetery Sunday.

Father Michael Canny said family members, acting on the order of the bishop, will be asked to sprinkle the water on loved ones' graves themselves.

In the past priests would have performed this role.

But dwindling numbers mean this "just isn't practical given the number of graves".

"This has been the practice in other places, so we're essentially playing catch-up," said Father Canny.

"But I must stress that there will be no holy water available on the day and we're asking people to collect their own beforehand."

The well-known cleric said the current number of priests in Derry's Cityside, 15, was 11 fewer than just ten years ago.

'No other reason'

"This is the only reason why we're having to do this, there's nothing more to it, and we trust that by giving people plenty of notice there'll be no problems on the day," he said.

People attending Cemetery Sunday, which takes place on 22 June, in Derry will also be asked to sprinkle water on neighbouring graves if they are not being tended.

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