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Newlyweds facing £400 fee to help cover costs like heat as weekly collections slump

Newry Cathedral Parish has also confirmed a £20 'suggested donation' for baptisms, with collections at First Communion and Confirmation ceremonies, as parishes may be 'unable to make ends meet if we are to keep all the Churches open'

Newry Cathedral

Newlyweds in some County Down parishes are to be charged £400 towards the cost of their nuptials, with an enhanced fee to help cover the bill for lighting and heating the church.

And a “dramatic” fall in collection costs post-Covid is one factor which is being blamed for forcing the decision.

The move has been confirmed by Newry Cathedral Parish, on a day when a new contactless card reader system was installed at the back of the Cathedral to allow parishioners and visitors to make an easy and secure donation for the maintenance and preservation of the building.

Parishioners can now use a touchscreen to select the amount they wish to donate and tap their credit or debit card to make a donation, while also able to enter an email address to receive a receipt, if required.

Decisions follow a meeting in December of the St Brigid’s deanery – which includes the parishes of Newry, Saval and Donaghmore – when the “financial state of the parishes” was discussed in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Those present also took into account the “cost required to heat churches for the different celebrations, weddings, funerals, baptisms”.

That said, a decision has been made to help brings on board the money needed to cover the outgoings.

In a statement, Newry Cathedral Parish confirmed: “For the use of all the Churches in this deanery the clergy and the representatives of the finance committee in each parish decided that for a couple getting married there will be a charge of £400.00.

“This includes the administration at parish level prior to the wedding, the heat and light required for the wedding and the stipend for the priest. The fee will be paid when a couple comes to get the papers filled in for the wedding.”

Meanwhile, a “suggested donation” of £20 for baptism was agreed.

The statement also confirmed: “A collection will be taken up during the First Communion and Confirmation ceremonies.

“It is believed that these charges are necessary as the weekly collections have fallen dramatically since Covid and with the current income that parishes are unable to make ends meet if we are to keep all the Churches open.

“It would be a very sad day if we couldn’t maintain all the Churches.

“Parishioners will see for themselves once we publish the 2022 accounts. They will be published as soon as they are available.

“We appreciate your understanding and your ongoing support.”

Read more: Calls for historical recognition for gallant fireman who saved Newry Cathedral from blaze


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