The leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland has called for the early resumption of public celebrations of Mass and the sacraments.
Archbishop Eamon Martin said it is "sad and disappointing" that the Covid-19 restrictions have lasted throughout the Easter season and congregations are still unable to gather physically.
In a Pentecost message to clergy, the archbishop said everyone has been making "great sacrifices" to protect health and life and to support the common good.
He said: "We miss meeting up as a parish community. Thankfully our sacrifices are bearing fruit and the number of deaths and ICU admissions from Covid-19 is continuing to decline.
"I want to thank you for the work you are doing at local level to plan for the full reopening of parish life and worship."
The Primate of All Ireland also thanked those who responded to his call for ideas to help draft a national framework document to maximise consistency across the dioceses and parishes of Ireland.
The framework document will offer guidance on a number of important liturgical issues such as the distribution and reception of Holy Communion; advice for concelebrants, deacons, altar servers; best practice for extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist and others who assist at Mass.
At the forthcoming Episcopal Conference meeting in early June the Bishops will consider extending the current suspension of the Sunday obligation, the sign of peace and use of holy water fonts.
They will also discuss the celebration of baptism, marriage and the sacrament of reconciliation in the context of any ongoing restrictions.
Meanwhile, two Newtownabbey churches have requested permission from the local borough council to hold drive-in services at leisure centre car parks on Sundays.
Trinity Reformed Presbyterian Church is seeking the use of the theatre car park at either Mossley Mill or Ballyearl Leisure Centre, while Abbots Cross Congregational wishes to use the car park at the Valley Leisure Centre following the relaxation of Covid-19 lockdown rules here permitting drive-in church services.