A new fifteen-minute mass in a Galway parish is drawing people in droves and reversing the fall off in mass attendance. The guaranteed 15-minute mass without a sermon and with the help of a Eucharistic minister is allowing parishioners to attend mass before going to work.
Father Michael Kenny switched his morning mass from 9.a.m to 7.30 a.m. and attendance has soared. "The general view among parishioners is that the 9 a.m. Mass was totally unsuitable for people going to work," he told the Irish Independent.
"Now, more and more people are coming along to the Mass at 7.30 a.m. as they know they can be on their way to work or school 15 or 20 minutes later and it is far more suitable," said Fr Kenny.
"We have to think of the needs of people who have to travel long distances to work, some to Galway city 40 km away.
"The only way they could be in time for work while also attending morning Mass during Lent is by being out of the church by 7.45 a.m.
"We are not leaving anything out of the Mass. Everything is there, but of course I do not make any sermon. People seem to like the idea as I have the help of a Eucharistic minister each day and that speeds up the service," Fr Kenny said.
He added: "We are here to facilitate the congregation and if there are any further increases in numbers attending, then the more the merrier."
Local parishioner, Marie Woolley, agrees.
"It is very refreshing to go to Mass so early every morning and you feel spiritually uplifted for the rest of the day. Fr Kenny has come up with a great idea and I hope other churches copy what he is doing," she said.
Frank and Noreen Curley, from Ballyroe, said the early Mass lasting 15 minutes suited everybody – especially Frank, who travels to work in Tuam.
"Fair play to Fr Michael for factoring in the work needs of his parishioners when planning the morning Mass during Lent," said Frank.
"This is not the remnants of a hurricane, it is a hurricane"