Church rescued by priests for €700,000 hosts its first service
A CHURCH that was due to be turned into a leisure centre has hosted its first religious service in six years.
More than 150 people went to the Sacred Heart in Limerick city last night for a rosary and blessing, a month after a group of young priests bought it for €700,000.
The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest order was founded in 1990 and says its mission is "to spread the reign of Christ in all spheres of human life".
It operates at more than 50 locations in 12 countries.
The building had been derelict since 2006 following its sale to the late John O'Dolan, a developer from Galway who planned to convert it into apartments and a leisure centre.
Canon Wulfran Lebocq (38) said services would be offered each evening except Sundays at 6pm.
"This is the very first service. It is solemn but a nice ceremony," he said.
"It is conducted in Latin and English with Gregorian chants and the organ will be used as well."
The first Mass in Latin will be held in the church this Friday at 7pm.
Canon Lebocq added: "We are very happy. Even young people are coming to the church and discovering the liturgy in Latin, so that is always positive.
Jack Collins (60), from Fedamore, Co Limerick, said he was delighted to be back in the church.
"I would have been a regular visitor here. We thought we would never see the day when it would be back with us. I just can't believe it," he said.