Deacon who battled Covid in ICU backs call for Easter return to Mass

Deacon who battled Covid in ICU backs call for Easter return to Mass Deacon Don Devaney (right) with a Radio Maria Ireland host.

A Dublin-based deacon who spent six weeks in hospital fighting for his life battling coronavirus has thrown his weight behind a call for a return to Mass for Easter.

Deacon Don Devaney – who is well-known as the organiser of the Divine Mercy Conference – spent much of his time in intensive care on a ventilator fighting the deadly virus admitting he was close to death.

Speaking to The Irish Catholic, Rev. Devaney (67) said he was “absolutely, 1000% supportive” of an Easter return to Mass as the churches are “so well managed” and “organised” to keep people safe.

It comes after the four archbishops met with Taoiseach Micheál Martin at the weekend to press for a return to Mass at Easter in the Republic if the numbers of people infected continue to fall and the vaccine roll-out for the vulnerable continues.

Rev. Devaney was hospitalised early in the first wave of the pandemic in March, spending six weeks in hospital in total – four of them in ICU being ventilated for almost three weeks.

“I missed last Easter because I was on the ventilator. I missed Holy Week, I missed Easter Sunday, I missed Divine Mercy Sunday, so I certainly wouldn’t like to be missing them two years in a row,” Rev. Devaney said.

Rev. Devaney was also critical of the Government’s current approach to the virus, and said that while “the virus is real and it’s dangerous,” life under lockdown “isn’t living”.

“Now there is a culture of stay at home – don’t mix, don’t meet, don’t go for a cup of tea, don’t walk, don’t exercise. This is not living…I’m inclined to say: ‘look, put on your mask, wash your hands – but get on with life’. And you know, that’s from someone who nearly died from it. I’m certainly advocating be cautious, be careful, but I’m saying very clearly, you cannot live your life like this,” he said.

As well as requesting that public worship resume when an easing of restrictions is considered, the archbishops also requested that the maximum number that can attend a funeral is increased. Currently only ten mourners are allowed.

The Taoiseach said in a statement that concerns raised at the meeting would be considered and that dialogue would be maintained, but didn’t commit to any reopening.