Guide for Visiting Laypersons and Priests of the Prelature

Local Safeguarding Policy - Ireland ("LSP-I") of the 

North-West Europe ("NWE") region of the Prelature of Opus Dei

Guide for Laypersons and Priests of the Prelature visiting Ireland

[See Article 36 LSP-I for NBSCCCI Guidance]

Activities with minors

Summer schools, work camps, or similar activities of some weeks duration, often involve adults and minors from abroad who are unfamiliar with national child safeguarding requirements or (where relevant) Church procedures for visiting priests etc. Safeguarding procedures differ in each civil jurisdiction on the island - Republic of Ireland ("RoI") and Northern Ireland ("NI") - but Church procedures are common to both. It is important that these matters be considered and prepared well in advance by the entities responsible (Section A below).

Every visitor involved in the proposed activities with minors should download the general Code of Conduct with Minors, study it and sign their commitment to it. Leaders should also consult the Checklist of Safeguarding Practices of the Prelature and study how to implement it in their activity. A safeguarding Risk Assessment for the activity should be carried out in advance and specific procedures put in place to address the risks in a responsible way.

Police vetting requirements

Lay persons and priests of the Prelature visiting Ireland are subject to the relevant civil safeguarding jurisdiction if they engage in activities in Ireland with minors  or vulnerable adults, whether or not these persons are visitors from abroad. Movement between civil jurisdictions on the island involves similar considerations. (Section B below).

Letters of Good Standing

In addition, when a priest of the Prelature who is not ordinarily resident in Ireland, intends to exercise ministry with minors or vulnerable adults in Ireland on a short-term basis, he may require Letters of Good Standing from his Ordinary (Section C below).

These issues must also be addressed when a priest of the Prelature who is ordinarily resident in Ireland intends to exercise a short-term ministry in a new diocesan context for which he has not already obtained permission from the diocesan Ordinary (or been vetted where necessary).

National visa requirements for Ireland ("RoI") or Northern Ireland ("NI") may also apply to visitors from abroad (except EU, UK). In the case of a stay extending over 90 days, these may include medical insurance and financial support requirements.

A. Guidance for those involved in Summer School  or Work Camp programmes

then the leaders involved (lay persons and priest) would have to be vetted on behalf of the Prelature, even if they were also required to be vetted on behalf of the civil entity. See Section B below.

B. Vetting Requirements for Visiting Laypersons or Priests of the Prelature

§1 Key Vetting Concepts:

§2 Who should obtain a Vetting Disclosure (RoI)?

§3 What should a visiting layperson or priest do?

Where a vetting disclosure is required (see §1 above) in addition to any Letters of Good Standing required for a priest (see Section C, §1 below) a visiting layperson or priest of the Prelature must:

Visitors may consult the Deputy Safeguarding Coordinator for Ireland for assistance with these procedures. It will greatly facilitate this consultation if they have studied the foregoing summary carefully beforehand and have also consulted the relevant definitions and vetting guidance in the Local Safeguarding Policy for Ireland on this website.

C. Letters of Good Standing for Visiting Priests of the Prelature

§1 When does a Visiting Priest need Letters of Good Standing from his Regional Vicar?

To simply participate or officiate as a priest 

the visiting priest should sign the appropriate church register to declare his presence at a specific date and time, and present his celebret for inspection by a local representative of the Ordinary (e.g. parish priest or his delegate).

Where a visit is for a purpose which is defined in legislation as a "relevant work" (RoI) or a  "regulated activity" (NI), even if it is a 'once-off' event lasting less than four days, the visit should be regarded as a 'short-term event' (see next below) and may also require police vetting (see §4 below). 

Specific NBSCCCI Guidance in relation to National Shrines is noted in Article 34 of this LSP-I. Where the Shrine is in Ireland (e.g. Knock) the guidance in this Summary is applicable.

Prior to exercising ministry in an ecclesiastical jurisdiction in Ireland (with the intention to engage in public ministry for 4 days or more, or on a repeated or regular basis), a visiting priest of the Prelature must obtain the permission of the relevant Ordinary in accordance with NBSCCCI Guidance 1.1C.

§2 The Good Standing procedure (where applicable) requires a visiting priest to:

§3 The consent procedure involves an exchange of correspondence between the applicant, his Ordinary and the receiving Ordinary. This may take time. Such visits should therefore be prepared in advance, allowing an adequate lead-in period.  A visiting priest may consult the Deputy Safeguarding Coordinator for Ireland for assistance with these procedures. Templates are available to facilitate communication with diocesan authorities.