It has often struck me that places such as Bluewater shopping centre and Gym-spa-health clubs are rather like modern pagan temples. Sad then, to see plans for a real Church to become a temple to the new religion.
The Irish Times reports on the sale of the Sacred Heart Church, Limerick, to developer John O'Dolan for 4 million euros. (Roman baths: new plan for former Jesuit church). An application for purchase was also lodged by a tradionalist group who wished to use the Church as a centre for the Traditional Latin Mass.
The article outlines Architect John Kennedy's plans for the Church. They will involve "very little alteration to the church" and "virtually all of the fabric of the existing structure" will be retained, including all five altars. The nave of the Church will become a swimming pool surrounded by a glass wall so that people can still see the High Altar. also at ground level will be a restaurant and juice bar. The gym itself will be on a new floor, five metres above ground level. Here is a photo of the interior of the Church so that you can picture it all in your mind's eye:
O'Dolan apparently thought that it would be a nice idea to ask the Latin Mass Society of Ireland (LMSI) to come and say Mass from time to time. Their press release in response to the plans for the Church is headed Limerick group condemns grotesque O'Dolan plan Vicky Nestor, Chair of the LMSI, said "It's grotesque to think that we could fit the most sacred ceremonies of our religion around a swimming pool."
Gillibrand has a brief parish history with a detailed description of the Church (Grotesque decision by Jesuits turns Church into swimming pool). It is heartbreaking to read it.
O'Dolan may be sincere in his desire to retain the altars but this is wrong because they contain relics of the saints and have been the resting place of the Sacred Body and Blood of the Lord. The altars, statues and other sacred artefacts from the Church should be removed and given to people who will be glad to take proper care of them.
The Irish Jesuit weekly newsletter, AMDG Express, has a two DVD set for sale. The first DVD has the "Closing Mass" and the second has memories of the Church from Jesuits and local people.