CHURCH authorities in Tuam have hired students to fill more than 3,000 Easter holy water bottles with bottled spring water.
The move was prompted by worries about the contamination of Co Galway’s public water supply
"As well as blessing themselves, many elderly people drink Easter holy water as they believe there is a cure in it for various illnesses. But with the danger that the parasite cryptosporidium may be present in the public water supply we could not risk filling the bottles from the tap in the cathedral this year," says Fr Charlie McDonnell.
His colleague, Fr Stephen Farragher, says they decided to purchase bottles of spring water. A shed beside Tuam presbytery was being used as a temporary bottling plant yesterday.
Six students from the nearby St Patrick’s College secondary school were busy filling the small plastic containers which will be distributed to those attending Masses in Tuam Cathedral over the Easter weekend.
The boys were using large plastic syringes, of the type used for injecting cattle and sheep, to get the spring water into the plastic bottles.
"It’s better than being in class but we would prefer if our girlfriends from the convent were here with us doing this work," said fourth-year student Jarlath Kelly.
His pal Daniel Heverin quipped: "If the girls were here with us we might not be as fast filling the bottles of holy water."
The other students were John Donoghue, Damien Varley, Darragh Bolton and Padraic Cunningham.
"We also got special labels printed for attaching to each bottle to inform those getting them of the contents and of the fact that the bottled holy water is safe to drink," said Fr Farragher.
Even though the work looked tedious as the students aimed to have 3,000 bottles filled before 4pm yesterday one of them, John Donoghue, remarked: "It beats the normal school routine and it is a good idea for the Church authorities to ensure that the holy water is safe to drink."