THE builder is on the job, but the parish of Kilmacabea still has to make up a €35,000 shortfall to repair the church roof.
Castlehaven contractor, Christy Collins, was erecting scaffolding around St Mary’s, this week, with a view to having the €150,000 contract completed by the end of July.
However, a fundraising appeal that went out by letter to the 600 parishioners in February was stymied by the lockdown.
Around 150 people returned their donations by bank draft, or transfer, but with the church closed, masses suspended, and difficulty get out to the post office, the remaining donations are still outstanding.
When he first launched the repair the roof campaign, Fr Kevin Blade thought it would be 2021 before the leaks would be finally fixed, but by the end of December the parish had €50,000 in its coffers from special monthly collections and a pre-Christmas concert. However, it was only when a couple, who are parishioners, privately donated €50,000 that 2020 looked very doable indeed.
The 150 replies to the postal appeal netted €15,000 but with €35,000 still outstanding, Fr Blade is hoping that the 450 still in the system will make up the balance.
Donations have come from all over the world, including friends of the parish in America and London, with many expressing the hope that the work will be completed before Fr Blade ends his three-years of service in Leap at the start of August.
Donations can be handed into the Parochial House or given to any member of the parish finance committee or alternatively donations can be lodged into the Kilmacabea Parish Account at AIB Skibbereen.
Fr Blade (62) told The Southern Star: ‘My three years are ending in August and I will be taking a short sabbatical for six months in my native Galway.
‘When I came here, I had prostate cancer so I needed Kilmacabea more than it needed me. For me, it was a much quieter place to recover from my operation.’
The priest who previously worked in Texas, Russia, England and South Africa, said: ‘I love it here. I have made some very good friends and those friendships will continue into the future.’
Fr Blade confirmed that masses are starting back up again at the end of June and from July 3rd and 4th masses will be celebrated in Glandore Church at 7.30pm on Saturdays, and at 10am and 12 noon on Sundays.
Meanwhile, Fr Michael Curran confirmed that Myross Wood Retreat Centre in Leap is to close as a religious community after 70 years in mid-August.
Fr Curran said he will move into the parish house, adjacent to the church, to assist the new priest and that Fr Dan O’Brien – the only other priest remaining at Myross – will relocate to their Missionaries of the Sacred Heart community at Western Road, Cork.
The parish house, adjacent to St Mary’s Church, was renovated to a high standard about five years ago and is large enough to accommodate both priests.
The future of Myross Wood has yet to be decided. Fr Curran confirmed it is currently being considered as a centre for a broad-range of ecological studies.
Fr Curran said it is a West Cork group that are considering this but it is still at ‘the discussion stage.’