Waterville's solidarity for injured Mike
Massive attendance at community mass for injured Michael Curran
It's often been the case that communities show the strongest version of themselves when faced with adversity - and the Waterville community is the latest to show this kind of solidarity at a most trying time.
It was difficult to tell how many people were in the Church of St Finian last Thursday night at a community Mass to pray for Michael Curran, who is in hospital in France after being critically injured in a road traffic accident.
A long, narrow building, the Church of St Finian has two aisles; both were filled on the night, while many more people stood at the back of the Church and packed out the porch.
A rough count suggested there were some 300 people; it may have been greater. Whatever the number, it was an extraordinary show of solidarity with the Curran family, and Michael's girlfriend, Keel's Sara O'Shea, who had joined Michael on a 14,000-kilometre round-the-world trip.
Readings on the night included the Letter of St James which referred to the prayer of faith and the saving of a sick man, the subject upon which the evening's homily was subsequently based.
"I'm sure the Curran family would be very impressed to know so many people have gathered here this evening to pray for the well-being of Michael and Sara," Fr Ger Finucane said.
"You and I gathered here tonight fulfil the request that we heard in our first reading this evening," Fr Finucane continued, adding: "That if there is one amongst us who is ill, that we as a community, as elders of the Church, all of us, would gather and pray for the well-being of that individual".
"This humongous crowd that is here tonight is witness to that great truth, and to a belief that we have - that God has the power to grant the gift of healing, the fullness of healing, to our brother, Mike.
"We are very much aware of how doctors, and nurses, and medical personnel are the hands of Jesus in the world today - that they reach out and offer the gifts that they possess to help our brother, Michael, to get well.
"That is all we need to do tonight: to gather and to present our prayers to our Heavenly Father... our request is that, by our presence here, he will listen to our prayers and grant Michael the fullness of health."