At long last, there's an Irish Catholic bishop to talk about who isn't involved in the child abuse scandal! (At least, not yet...) Bishop Colm O'Reilly of Longford, take a bow!
Get a load of this guy! So on Christmas Day, his beautiful St. Mel's Cathedral burns right to the ground. Everybody's heartbroken, and when it comes to the $12M tab for rebuilding it, everybody's just plain broke. But is O'Reilly a beaten bishop? No!
He knows that super-rich superstar Hollywood heavyweight Mel Gibson's mother, Anne Reilly, hails from near the town of Longford, and that the actor is actually named after St. Mel himself.
So the bishop gets the word out: Let's put the arm on "Mr. Braveheart" to shell out for rebuilding the cathedral! He's always talking up his religious beliefs anyway, whatever they are -- let him put his money where his mouth (and name) is.
I love this idea! It's sort of like the way companies shell out big bucks for "naming rights" to a new stadium. And there's no reason to stop with Mel Gibson and St. Mel's -- there are a lot of beaten-up old churches in Ireland, and plenty of rich people who could "adopt" one.
Take the richest of the rich, Microsoft chief Bill Gates. He's got two options. First, even though there's no St. Bill, there sure as heck is a St. William! I couldn't find an Irish parish with his name, but why quibble? Slap that name on some derelict church and we're in business, complete with brand-new stained-glass "Windows." This is marketing genius, and goodwill he can't buy anywhere else for any price! Option two: Find a Gate of Heaven parish, take a paint brush to the sign, and voila! Gates of Heaven!
Prefer a Mac to a PC? No problem, in a country with the huge St. Stephen's Day holiday (henceforth, St. Steve Jobs Days). Another Richie Rich, another renovated church!
And as for the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett -- YES! There IS a St. Warren. True, he may not have strong Irish ties; his Latin name is St. Guarinus, and he was bishop of someplace called Palestrina, which probably isn't in the 32 counties. But beggars can't be choosers, and I think we can cut him some slack in exchange for, say, the Buffet Basilica!
This could be the day Irish Catholics have been dreaming about: a great parish church with no need for a collection plate!
After all, what's in a name? I'll tell you: money for Irish churches!
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