Parish Life in Rural Donegal
Since my ordination day, I have had the great joy of celebrating Eucharist every morning in my home “Solas Antoin” (Anthony’s Light), which sits on a bleak hill overlooking Trawenagh Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
I was delighted to have been invited to share my story in the Sunday Independent and more recently on our local radio station, Highland Radio.
Covid has hampered travel, so my ministry has been more or less exclusive to social media, spreading the news of our “little church with a big heart”, especially to those who have felt excluded or have been hurt by religious groups. This has attracted interest from all over the world.
In preparation for my “big day”, and in the months that followed, I have transformed one of our attic bedrooms into an oratory.
Prayer Around the Light, is live-streamed on Facebook, on Wednesdays at 7pm, as is Breaking of the Bread on Saturdays at 6:30pm from Kevin’s Oratory.
We are building a small community of prayer, coming together for Daily Mass and three times a day to pray the Divine Office.
Visitors are always welcome and we are joined by our Open Episcopal Church parishioners to share our celebration of weekly Sunday Eucharist, followed by tea, cake and a chat.
I was saddened,therefore, when I was informed that a local semi-retired Catholic priest turned up at the door of one of my parishioner’s last week, on a very stormy night, saying that he was there to chat with “some Protestant woman he had heard about who wanted to go to Mass”. (She was obviously the subject of local gossips).
He was made welcome and despite her explaining that she had been excluded from the Sacraments of his church many years ago by one of his fellow priests, he dismissed her hurts saying that the church “has changed”.
The lady explained that she is very happy with her relationship with God and she now enjoys attending Mass in Solas Antoin…..
He suddenly fell asleep as he sat in front of the fire!!
When she woke him up, she politely showed him the door and he insisted on giving her a hug before he left (despite Covid restrictions).
The whole experience left her very upset and angry.
This morning we had gathered to celebrate Mass on this 3rd Sunday of Advent and had been chatting about her experience with this misinformed, arrogant old man……..
When he showed up at Solas Antoin!!!
I was dressed in my vestments, literally about to say the Opening Prayer when he knocked on the front door.
He quizzed me about my name and which diocese I was under the authority of….
I explained that I am an independent priest of The Open Episcopal Church.
He made some quip about being under no-one’s authority, then came up with some excuse about being at the wrong house, before he left.
Needless to say I was not amused.