A TRAINEE priest from Belfast has put his dreams of joining the church on hold to lend his services to the health service during the pandemic.
Chris Gault previously worked as a junior doctor at Mater Hospital before deciding to follow his true calling with a life in the priesthood.
In 2018, the 30-year-old moved to Dublin to join Irish Dominican Order where he has been immersed in the teaching of philosophy, theology and biblical studies.
It was only when he saw the UK government’s recent appeal calling for former medics to re-register for the health service that the Queen's University graduate decided to sign up.
Fast-forward a few weeks and he’s now back at Mater Hospital, where he served as a junior doctor, providing essential support to the hospital’s existing staff.
"I talked to my superiors and they were happy and encouraging," he explained to The Irish News.
"I just volunteered. The trust and the health service is undergoing a lot of change.
"They are adapting to a lot of change in these current circumstances. I never wavered. Once the backing came, I was happy to go for it. My skills are quite limited in comparison to a lot of my colleagues, who I met today and who were so welcoming.
"They have been on the front line (and) their training is better than mine.I will be looking to support them. They are true heroes (and) I have a great admiration for them."
Though he admitted to feeling a little rusty, the hospital has been patient and helpful getting him back up to speed with everything.
And while he misses eating and praying in the priory with the other Brothers, he remains hopeful for the future of Ireland and the rest of the world.
"Coming back here, and in the short time that I've been here, I'm very confident that these professionals with all the support they're receiving from the public, they'll beat this thing,” he told RTE.
"It might not be tomorrow or next week but they're going to beat it you know. So, I would encourage people to pray, turn to the Lord and just have hope, and wait it out ... and obviously follow the guidelines that are given because they're in everybody’s interest.”