A Priest and three other people were subjected to a horrifying attack by a man wielding a chalice just after Mass on Sunday.
Father Pat McManus from St. Gabriel’s Church in Clontarf, Dublin, told how the unprovoked attack left him and the church sacristan hospitalized.
The parish priest, who suffered two wounds to his head, said that he had no idea why the attacker carried out the assaults.
He said at his home on Monday, “It happened when I was saying a few prayers after the 9 a.m. Mass in the church. I saw a man walk up onto the altar. He went to the tabernacle and took out the ciboriums. I went up and asked him what he was doing and that’s when he hit me with them.
“I ran away through the church. I was shocked at what happened.”
The priest said the attacker seemed to be aged in his fifties and that he “may have been deranged.”
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The attacker also assaulted the sacristan Michael Dillon. He used the ciboriums, metal bowls used to contain the Eucharist, as weapons. He inflicted a serious eye injury on the sacristan.
The man then made a second attempt to attack McManus when the priest was forced to flee the church. The priest managed to close a door with glass panels in the church behind him, His attacker smashed the glass panel while wielding the ciboriums.
Astonishingly, the drama was captured live on the church’s webcam as part of the parish’s new Internet broadcasting service.
A parishioner watching at the time immediately called the Gardai (police). In addition, several people in the church were also phoning the Gardai on their cellphones.
Masses are streamed on the Internet, and former parishioners as far away as Canada have been able to watch religious services.
McManus said, “I’m just relieved that Michael appears to be okay now. He was sitting up in bed in hospital.”
The priest shrugged off his own injuries and made light of the two scars on the side of his head. “I’m okay. I’ve got a hard head,” he said.
Although four people were injured, only the priest and the sacristan required hospital treatment.
Local parishioner Andy Jackson ,79, said, “Everyone is very shocked by what happened. Father Pat is one of the best. Everybody loves him. He’s a gentleman. We heard the sacristan got the worst of it. We just hope they get better soon.”
Among the messages of support the priest received was a goodwill message from local Church of Ireland minister Robert Deane.
The man was later arrested by Gardai who refused to give details about the incident.