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Minister at forefront of campaign to legalise abortion steps in to say prayers after priest failed to show up for Mass

An Irish government minister stepped in to 'say Mass' after a priest failed to show up

AN Irish government minister who was at the forefront of the campaign to legalise abortion in the Republic stepped in to say prayers after a priest failed to show up to say Mass.

Culture Minister Josepha Madigan had been due to give a reading at Mass at the Church of St Therese in Mount Merrion, Dublin on Saturday evening, but when the priest did not appear, she offered to lead prayers.

It is believed the Dublin Rathdown TD performed most elements of a Mass, but did not read the Gospel or perform the consecration of the bread and wine - these can only be carried out by a priest.

There was some pre-blessed bread in the church, which meant Mass-goers were able to receive communion.

It emerged after the service that local priest Fr Brian O'Reilly was scheduled to be away and a replacement cleric did not materialise.

Ms Madigan co-ordinated Fine Gael's Yes campaign during the recent referendum on repealing the Eighth Amendment. She has previously described how her faith is "extremely important" to her.

Speaking after the Mass on Saturday, Ms Madigan said it was a "sad reflection of the times we live in that there are no priests available to say Saturday evening Mass in one of the busiest parishes in Dublin".

"A lack of ordinations and the age profile of priests mean a shortage is inevitable," she told the Herald newspaper.

"And it’s not just here, I know this is an issue for many parishes across the country."

Josepha Madigan stepped into to help at the Church of St Therese in Mount Merrion, Dublin

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