Holy Week is about suffering and moving into resurrection. Of course we are all suffering at the moment, but we are doing so in order to keep others safe
Fr. Kevin Fallon was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in the UK but moved to County Sligo with his parents at the age of 12. A love of music and Newcastle United Football Club has followed him through secondary school, the seminary, and to the parishes of Castlerea, Roscommon, and Kilglass/Rooskey/Slatta.
“It’s ten years this summer since I left Roscommon town after first serving here,” he said this week. “I was always told never to slam a door in case you needed to walk back through it again!”
Fr. Kevin started to play Irish music at a young age as part of the Irish community on Tyneside and went on to learn guitar in the seminary, where he also first started singing. He even released a CD ‘Twice the Catch’ in memory of his late mother Philomena in 2015.
“I have done very little singing during lockdown and that’s something I really miss. I look in at the room full of musical instruments at times and feel quite sad.
Fr. Kevin arrived in Castlerea in 1993 and remembers his first few days very well.
“I was only there a week when Alan McLoughlin scored his famous equaliser against Northern Ireland up in Windsor Park to send us to America for the World Cup!
“I spent a lovely ten years there before moving to Roscommon in 2003, where I remained for eight years. I then moved on to Kilglass/Rooskey/Slatta, so this summer I’m celebrating the tenth anniversary of my leaving Roscommon town…by returning!”
The devoted ‘Magpie’ has found a year of ‘lockdowns’ quite difficult and understands how upsetting it has been for local parishioners.
“It’s very difficult in this parish because it has a huge population (compared with rural parishes). It was easier when the churches were open during the week and anyone who wanted to come along could do so. We could seat 80 in (socially distanced) sections at Mass. The weekends are a problem though in a big town. I’ll be glad to see us exit out of this pandemic,” he said.
“Holy Week is about suffering and moving into resurrection. Of course we are all suffering at the moment, but we are doing so in order to keep others safe. It is not easy for priests or parishioners but we must realise that this is only temporary,” he said.
As for the current restrictions, Fr. Kevin says webcams and live streaming give some level of comfort, particularly during times of grief, but are no substitute for the real Mass-going experience.
“I still think there will be social distancing and restrictions for the foreseeable future so it probably won’t be ideal. I think it might be a while before we see full churches again but I certainly hope I’m wrong about that.
“Webcams are great, but it’s not the same. We all miss the coming together to celebrate Mass, and that’s even more keenly felt around important celebrations such as Easter,” he said, before wishing all parishioners a Blessed and safe Easter period.