As the weeks became months since the outbreak of the Coronavirus Pandemic and lockdown restrictions around attending Mass in Churches remained in place, Fr Alexander considered the feasibility of celebrating Mass in the car park at St Joseph’s Church in Ballycranbeg.
one of his considerations was that for the annual Cemetery Sunday ceremony each year a temporary shelter was erected to allow the rosary and prayers to be recited in a safe and dry environment should the weather be inclement and so, with the help of local tradesmen a more permanent structure was built in the car park grounds just outside the Parochial House.
With this structure in place and having been furnished with an altar table, lectern, seating, electrics and any other things that may be needed to make the room suitable for the Celebration of Mass, Fr Alexander celebrated his first Mass in the new Mass Room on Wednesday 1st July. This Mass was a Parish Mass but particularly for the children of the Parish as traditionally the Wednesday Mass was celebrated in St Mary’s Primary School each week during term time.
Following the success of this Mass a regular schedule of Masses have been celebrated in the car park every week on Tuesday evening, Wednesday morning, Saturday evening (Vigil Mass) and Sunday morning. In August Fr Alexander took a few days holiday and during his absence a member of the Down and Connor Diaconate, Rev James McAllister, was welcomed to the Parish when he conducted a Eucharistic Celebration instead of the normal Masses.
Since the beginning of the Outdoor Masses at St Joseph’s, Fr Alexander has been supported by Ministers of the Word (Readers), Eucharistic Ministers, Stewards for the Car Park, collectors and many others who help in numerous ways to ensure the smooth running of the Masses and Ceremonies that have taken place there since July.