This is great stuff, from Catholic priest Father P.J. Hughes, pastor of Mullahoran and Loughduff Parish in southern County Cavan, Ireland.
He says he will not force anyone to wear a mask and that it’s not right to close the church just because the government says so. We need more shepherds like Fr. Hughes! He was issued a citation with a $500 Euro fine by the government, but says he will NOT pay it, that he’ll go to jail first and will continue to say Holy Mass.
The pastor issued a statement on March 21, 2021 in the Mullahoran and Loughduff Parish newsletter.
Note that the ‘gardai’ that Fr. refers to is the the state police force of the Irish Republic.
Fr. P.J. Hughes wrote, in part:
“Lent: As we enter the fifth week of Lent we are called to reflect once more on the deep meaning of our faith. We are pilgrims on a journey that God has planned for us. We can never fool God to thinking we can decide our future here. Lent tells us that God loved us so much that he was generous with his Mercy if we have faith in that Mercy we will not be lost. Our task is to bring that message to all. The Christian has to preach to the world the saving work of Jesus Christ. I do not accept the negative message of our leaders who are telling us that we must stay away from Jesus. He is there for us in the sacraments and wants to give Himself to us. Life has become burdened by restrictions; health officials telling us to wear masks and not to go to the church in case we catch the virus. This has turned people against each other. If I wish to wear a mask that is fine, but I am not obliged to challenge others who do not wish to wear it. That is there free choice and constitutional right and it should not be taken away from them. If Christians were as determined to spread the message that Christ is our savior as they are to challenge others for not obeying restrictions laid down by this government then we would be on the right track and truly living Lent. May we recognize God’s mercy and be drawn to Him rather than be obsessed by regulations and restrictions.”
“… Holy Week: Next Sunday begins the journey of Holy Week. It is hard to believe that for a second year people cannot come to take part in the ceremonies of Holy Week. Despite the size of the church and the holy place that it is because of the presence of Jesus in The Holy Tabernacle, the church has been deemed a hotspot for the spread of the virus by the gardai. The majority of people are healthy and able to go shopping, bring their children to school and many are working in enclosed environments. We are committing a grave mistake by rejecting our Lord and God Jesus Christ by staying away because government officials say we must. I do not accept and will not accept this demand by people who do not realize the wrong they are doing. It is our constitutional right to protest as long as it is peaceful. It is our constitutional right to practice our faith and assemble to pray together. For those who are afraid of catching the virus in the church then they have the free choice to stay at home and live their lives as they think it is best to do. I have been reported again and the gardai have issued a fine because I celebrated Mass with people present. I will exercise my constitutional right even though people are complaining, even though I am not obeying my bishop when I go against his advice. We can’t just reject Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.”
Here is the post on the Mullahoran Parish Churches Facebook page.
Believe it or not there are good priests here in Los Angeles Archdiocese too. At one particular church, the priest doesn’t enforce masking, still gives Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue (as is our right in Redemptionis Sacramentum – see below.) and he even kept the church open earlier this year despite government edicts. In one homily he said that “the devil is at work here, we have spies at our own parish!” Some of his own parishioners had actually snitched on him, 😨 and he got a visit from two L A. County Health Dept. enforcers. He did not back down. As a result, his church (in Los Angeles Archdiocese in a very bad neighborhood) has grown by leaps & bounds, and people are coming from all over Southern California to attend his Masses. He has actually had to add additional Masses to the schedule. (Not to mention he reported that his parish is now able to pay the bills and is out of debt for the first time in years.) Well done to both of them! ¡VIVA CRISTO REY!! 😇🙏🏻