A PRIEST in Co Louth found the perfect way to deliver an Easter blessing to the people of his parish while adhering to Ireland’s strict social distancing rules.
Fr Malachy Conlon from Omeath in North Louth took to the roads in a Popemobile this past Holy Thursday to deliver the Blessed Sacrament from a safe distance.
Under the current government lockdown, traditional Easter church services have been banned in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Keen to provide support to the faithful during such testing times, Fr Malachy decided that if they couldn’t go to church, the church would come to them.
Transported around in a Popemobile previously used by Pope John Paul II during visits to Scotland and South Africa in 1982, he brought the sacrament of Holy Communion to believers in Cooley, Carlingford and Omeath.
The priest made sure to bless the good people of his parish during the drive-by visit with members of the public instructed to remain at home and kneel in reverence as he passed.
The Cooley pastoral council informed followers of Fr Conlon’s plans on social media, resulting in a massive turnout across the peninsula.
This is happening in Cooley, Co Louth right now as parish priest Fr Malachi Conlan being driven around in actual Popemobile that was used in Scotland and South Africa in 1982 as he gives an Easter blessing to everyone. Amazing to see! @rtenews @MartyM_RTE @roisindff @TG4TV pic.twitter.com/Iv44GSfaZD
— Lyn Savage (@lynsavo) April 9, 2020
Speaking to The Irish Mirror, local Councillor Erin McGreehan described the occasion as “something special” for the local community.
"Everyone came out of their houses to receive the blessing and to take part in something bigger than themselves,” she said.
"We waited in our gardens for two hours playing and chatting, we even had our dinner out in the garden.”
She also rejected any suggestion Fr Malachy was in breach of the current lockdown rules, arguing he should be classed among “frontline workers”.
"He is on the frontline, he is looking after our community and if there was someone that needed something, Fr Malachy would be there,” she added.
"I do think there is a special exemption for Fr Malachy, it was a huge important piece of work he did today for the parish.”