Two well-known religious centres in Dublin, the Emmaus Centre in Swords and St Peregrine’s oratory in Rathfarnham shopping centre, have been “forced to close” due to the effects of lockdown.
The Emmaus Centre, run by the Christian Brothers, provided facilities for human, spiritual and religious development for over 40 years to school children, religious and laity.
Speaking to The Irish Catholic, Christian Brother’s provincial Bro. Edmund Garvey, said that they “deeply regretted” having to make the decision.
“It was a very difficult decision for us, both the board of management and the trustees there,” he said. “We regretted it very much because it provided a great service to lots of groups.
“The religious congregations of course were great patrons of Emmaus, they used it for retreats and chapters and other kinds of gatherings. We were always grateful for them being there, they helped to make it what it was.”
The decision came as a result of a collapse in current and forward bookings due to the effects of Covid-19 restrictions, which forced the Christian Brothers to make a decision.
“We had an enormously dedicated staff and we had to do the best for them,” Bro. Garvey said. “We couldn’t keep it open realising that that there was no business there and therefore there was no income to pay staff. We had to bring some kind of certainty to their lives as well.”
The oratory in Rathfarnham, which was run by the Servite order, also closed due to the effects of Covid-19, after 30 years serving the faithful.
Servite provincial, Fr Colin McGlynn, told this newpaper that it was a “very tough decision” and was entirely down to “safety issues”.
“We agonised over it and waited as long as we could for signs of improvement, but it wasn’t to be,” Fr McGlynn said. “On health and safety grounds – many of our patrons would be over 70 or even 80 – we felt we could no longer continue with our service. We wouldn’t have had to meet except that we were concerned for the safety of people.”
In a statement to the Servite community, Fr McGlynn said that the closure “felt like a bereavement”, but that the order hoped to continue the St Peregrine ministry in the nearby parish of Marley, Rathfarnham.