Father Tom Hayes, Parish Priest of Enniskeane, Co Cork in the Diocese of Cork and Ross.
Q1. How are you coping with lockdown/social distancing?
Coping ok so far. Even small things take much longer to do now as the Parish Office and church are closed. Staff and volunteers are all at home. Shifting gears from a collaborative model to a ‘one-man’ model is neither easy nor good.
Q2. What do you miss most?
I miss the regular weekday congregation most because I know them all personally and almost all are volunteers in so many aspects of parish life. They are also our praying core. This time every other year would also be busy with Station Masses and I miss that a lot. They are about faith, community and social fun all built-in!
Q3. How are you reaching out online as a priest and as parish? Is there anything you will continue online once lockdown is over?
We broadcast Mass at least once a week on Facebook and using video-conferencing technology to have several people minister online from their homes, including music and hymns. It’s an important life-line for me and for parishioners. After Covid-19? Difficult to know.
Q4. What is the first thing you will do after lockdown and when social distancing is over?
The first thing I will do after the restrictions are lifted is to visit the people who have been bereaved during this time and those who are ill. These are the two groups who are hardest hit.
Q5. Have you a message for people in need of hope and encouragement at this time?
To those who are in need of hope: “Hear the Lord’s words: ‘tomorrow will care of itself’. Take each day today as a new blessing, an opportunity to live and to do the best we all can today. And at the end of today, say a word of thanks for it in prayer.”