PEOPLE can enjoy a quiet prayer and reflection at St Clare’s Church in Graiguecullen thanks to the efforts of a team of volunteers.
Sacristan Catherine Ryan leads a group of 20 volunteers that ensures the pews are sanitised and people can pray in peace without cause of concern.
“We are taking every precaution,” stressed parish priest Fr John Dunphy. “We have most the church cordoned off, so there is only section that people can use. When people come in and are finished they leave the kneeler down. Every so often, a team of volunteers comes in to clean and sanitise those seats.”
People can sanitise their hands before the come and enter and exit by different doors. Doors are kept ajar so the pubic don’t even have to touch any part of them.
Only a handful of people are in the church at any one time and those present understand the importance of social distancing, said Fr Dunphy.
The parish priest lauded the “Trojan work” of Ms Ryan and the volunteers who keep it open. It has been heartening to see parishioners return to the church since it reopened two weeks ago, he added.
“People miss their church and need to pray more than ever now,” said Fr Dunphy. “You have to think of people’s wellbeing, and wellbeing for many people is being able to get out, go to a church, light a candle and say a prayer. It’s very important, you can’t underestimate that.”
St Clare’s Church continues to celebrate services through its website and Facebook page with a morning Mass, Rosary at noon and evening prayer.
The church is currently open to the public from noon to 4pm.
Under the current government roadmap, church services with congregations present are still someway off until at least mid-July.