FOR the first time since the pandemic struck, the Adoration Chapel in the Town Centre has reopened.
Parish priest Father Arnold Rosney said that it had been a long spell of closure.
“It has been closed since Covid started in March of 2020. We had no choice but to close it.
“Even when the country reopened we weren’t in a position to reopen it because the room is quite small. Sadly we had to suspend morning mass there, which was upsetting for many people, but we had no choice.”
He said it is great to be able to open the doors once again. “We’re thrilled to be able to open it today. What we’re doing is opening it from 2-5pm from Monday to Friday, for private prayer to begin with. Then, all going well, from December, we’re hoping to have Adoration resuming.
“That would mean that people who were normally on the roster or new people, can sign up for one hour and pray before the Blessed Sacrament. It’s progress and we’re delighted to be able to do so.”
He says that with precautions remaining in place, the feeling is that it is a safe time to reopen. “With 50% capacity, we felt it was a good time.
“We’re not resuming mass, which means we won’t have a packed chapel at any given time. For a 65 seater venue, you’ll probably have no more than five or ten people in there.
“With personal responsibility, I think people will know where to sit and where not to sit. The face masks and the sanitising are mandatory. It’s just applying the rules for a smaller venue, it’s just for private prayer and there probably won’t be great demand starting off, but over time hopefully we’ll be able to resume adoration.”
He says the Adoration Chapel is quite well used by the public.
“We have a lot of footfall passing as people go into SkyCourt to shop and do their business. You’d have a lot of people calling in to say a prayer, light a candle and go about their business. It’s a positive step, but with safety in mind.”
Unfortunately the passing of a milestone for the Chapel had to go unmarked in 2020.
“The Adoration Chapel would have been celebrating 25 years last year, but unfortunately we couldn’t celebrate the opening.
“The good thing about it is that we are one of only about three parishes in the country that has its own Adoration Chapel specifically built for that ministry in a parish.
“We’re delighted to have it and we want to keep it, keep it open and use it.”
Mercy on the Mall had been a popular feature of the Christmas build up in Shannon in the years prior to the pandemic.
While much of society has reopened, the decision has been made not to go ahead with it again this year, as a precaution against the virus.
Father Rosney said that the parish has sought to take a cautious approach to reopening.
“We’ve adopted the policy of open slowly and responsibly. It has worked for us and people feel comfortable doing that.”