Page 44 - Church Review JUNE 2020 [IM)
P. 44

Keeping in touch, in isolation.
This is more like a blog than the usual Review Notes! While the Church of St Catherine & St James is closed for the time being, St Teresa’s Church around the corner has been active in covering the railings with rainbows coloured in by the children. Mass is said behind closed doors but the Church is open for some hours each day, for people to come in to pray and to light a candle. How strange for them to be so close to the sacrament but they are not able to receive it.
On the South Circular Road I feel we have escaped the worst effects of the crisis. I can walk to the shops and the post office, or drive to the supermarket. There are lengthy queues for Lidl and SuperValu. I keep in touch mainly through letters and ‘phone calls, text messages and Messenger on Facebook. I have heard from my friend Frank McMullen who is isolated in Portland Oregon (in retirement) but hopes to come back to live in Ireland before Christmas. My sister Alison and her husband Bill are working (in IT) from home in Seattle. My friend Miron Blumental, who lived in Belfast when I was there, has been confined to the house in Vancouver with three generations of the family and numerous cats and dogs. My brother Stephen is working from home. He and his partner are self-isolating in Marino. His sister-in-law Sinéad is a bus driver at Clontarf garage so she can’t work from home! My brother John and his wife Cindy are not enjoying enforced idleness, accompanied by the cat, in their house in Killester. A lodger in this large old house, Fr Anteneh Getu Awoke, has gone home to his wife and family Addis Ababa, as the Lantern Centre in Synge Street is closed. Anyway, his Ethiopian Orthodox congregation would not be able to assemble. I learn from him that they are very anxious about the spread of the coronavirus. They still hope to obtain permission to move to live in Ireland, if he can get leave to work here. A lad called Adan from Brazil was also here, working in a restaurant, but he went to Belfast earlier on, to visit Colin McCormick who also used to live in this house, and then Adan couldn’t get back, nor would he have any work to go to if he did. I hear from Patrick MacBride, an Irishman living in Morocco (under strict curfew from six o’clock in the evening), and Daniel Nonso in Nigeria, that the areas they live in are so far virus- free. Daniel, a devout Anglican like so many Nigerians, lived in Ireland but was deported back to Nigeria ten years ago. My old friend the Anglican chaplain Ian Sherwood is under curfew in Istanbul! He and I were in School and in College together. He was curate assistant in this Parish in the 1980’s. My cousin Richard Gardner and his wife Sian in Northamptonshire both caught the virus from one of their sons and his wife, who showed no signs of being corona positive when they visited. Happily, they were not badly affected and have recovered.
Ministry in Dublin 8
We intended to have another Zoom meeting, online, with members of St Catherine’s Thomas St, the Church of South India congregation in Donore Avenue, called Holy Trinity, and the Parish of St Catherine & St James with St Audoen. The meeting was scheduled for Thursday 14 May, and a report might have made in the Review Notes, but the moderator, the Revd Ken Rue, has postponed the colloquy by a week, because the Revd Viji Varghese Eapen, a PhD student, has fallen ill. I very much hope it’s not covid 19.
Reported in the ‘Dublin Inquirer’ independent newspaper
At the moment, the Blackpitts Mosque in Dublin 8 is housed in an old warehouse, behind a blank wall. New designs filed as part of a planning application with Dublin City Council show the warehouse gone, replaced with a dedicated mosque for its congregation, and 27 residential apartments between the first and sixth storeys. The designs blend traditional Muslim architecture with the familiar red-brick of Dublin’s streetscapes and the surrounding Liberties area.
‘Cities are amazing because they’re a melting pot of people from lots of different places. Dublin is no exception, and that’s always been reflected in its architecture’, says Architect Dominic Stevens. ‘There’s not an indigenous Dublin architecture and then other architecture that doesn’t belong. Dublin is a mishmash of different traditions and times of architecture from different places.’
Right now, the mosque faces Blackpitts, the warehouse roof visible over barbed wire. On a Friday, people slip in to worship through a door at one end of the wall. According to the planning application, the wall and the warehouse would be demolished. In its place would be a new building of high-quality red brickwork, arches, windows
and decorative gold balconies. A “kind of amalgam of Dublin Iveagh buildings, markets and mosques”, says Stevens.
In a traditional mosque, you come in first into a courtyard where there’s a fountain where you wash your feet, then you go into the mosque, says Stevens. ‘We’ve put that series of elements together slightly differently to suit the site. You can walk in off the street into an open space. There’s a colonnade and it has a nice tree planted in it. It feels like an open, porous building and people know what’s going on.’ When Stevens started the project he knew very little about Islam, he says. ‘This feels like a big responsibility’, he says, with a laugh.
St Teresa’s rainbow railings
Mosque Blackpitts
    ONLINE CHURCH SERVICES IN DUBLIN & GLENDALOUGH Throughout the Covid-19 crisis Find information on worship online at

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