A million times I've travelled the road from Crieve to Longford town. Last night's drive was like no other. Dark and still, not even a branch moved.
All along the four mile route candles flickered behind window panes.
The simple, fragile light sent out a strong message - those who had died from the coronavirus, those who were fighting it - they all were were remembered in every single house across the nation.
There wasn't a single vehicle to be seen. In town the traffic lights flicked from red to green to orange but no one heeded because there was no one.
St Mel's Cathedral inside appeared to be larger than normal but this wasn't any normal time. An unusual chill in the air sent a shiver down my spine. Dimly lit, the empty pews looked cold, sad and lonely.
The strangeness grew in intensity when the Vigil Mass commenced shrouded in almost total darkness. Dressed in splendid white vestments, the priests and bishop glided ghost like over the marble floor. The contrast was stark, sharp and striking.
Passages read, hymns sung, candles flickered; deep and serious voices echoed loud and clear bouncing off tall attentive walls.
The vast sea of empty pews bore quiet, respectful, silent witness.
But through technology, in homes throughout the parish and diocese and indeed in far flung exotic lands, eyes were peeled to tablets and phones and laptops and the word of God spread like a cosy, comfort blanket throughout the vast and silent land.
A special, silent night in Easter and a privilege to have been present to take a few photos.
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