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Priest puts safety first this Christmas 21.12.17

A PRIEST has added an extra vigil Mass this Christmas Eve to stop large crowds posing a health and safety risk in his church.
Culdaff-born Fr Paddy O’Kane (69) said bigger than usual congregations at the 6pm festive vigil had led to concerns in previous years at his Holy Family Church in Ballymagroarty, Derry city.
As a result, he has added another Mass at 7.30pm to facilitate the pre-Santa rush on the aisles.
Parishioners in the 9,000-strong parish can also choose to attend a vigil at 9pm or one of three Masses celebrated on Christmas Day.
The long-serving parish priest also appealed for extra stewards to help marshal the festive crowds on December 24th and 25th.
“Because of the large crowds we experienced in the past at the 6pm vigil Mass we have added another vigil Mass for reasons of health and safety,” Fr O’Kane.
“Please come to any of the five other Christmas Masses if you wish to be more comfortable. Extra stewards will be needed at all Masses,” he appealed through the parish newsletter.
Fr Paddy O'Kane.
Meanwhile, the Inishowen-born priest said he was delighted that he could continue offering three Sunday Masses in the new year. He said he had enlisted the help of three retired priests to help him out.
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