After Massgoers’ prayers for golfer Shane Lowry were answered over the weekend, there is “tremendous excitement” in Clara parish, a local priest has said.
Shane returned home to the small Offaly town on Wednesday and received a hero’s welcome after winning the British Open.
Commenting on Shane’s mother Bridget clutching a statue of St Anthony while watching some spectacular golfing, PP Fr Joe Deegan said she is a “very active parishioner” and a women of “great faith”.
“There’s a St Anthony’s shrine in Clara in St Bridget’s Church, she has a very strong devotion to St Anthony,” he said.
The family’s connection to the parish goes back further, with Shane previously being an altar server himself in the church. During Mass on the Saturday and Sunday during the competition, parishioners joined together in prayer for his success.
Fr Deegan said: “We prayed for Shane of course at the Masses on Sunday and Saturday night, included him in our prayers of intercession, there was great anticipation.
“The whole place, you can feel a buzz around the town.”
He added he prayed that “the Lord’s peace would be upon him in his endeavours, like all people involved in sport, that they would know something of God’s glory and goodness in their lives”.
Beginning with pitch and putt, Shane began playing golf at age 12 but was also involved in the local GAA club.
When push came to shove, however, it was golf that won out.
“As a parish, as a community we feel very proud of Shane as a native, and his family, I mean they’re lovely people, good solid earthly people and it’s great for Clara.
“It’s a small town, it’s not on any major tourist map or anything like that but it may change now,” said Fr Deegan.
“There’s a great feeling of pride and elation…it’s given a great boost to the community”.