Married 'bishop and vicar' from organisation founded by St Patrick transform home into 'church'

Married 'bishop and vicar' from organisation founded by St Patrick transform home into 'church'
Bishop Denis Dinneen and Rev. Canon Elena Aloysius of the Celtic Community Church in their apartment in Mallow. Pic: Dan Linehan.

A married couple who describe themselves as a bishop and vicar are bringing religious devotion to new heights after they transformed their rented apartment into a church, according to Cork's Evening Echo.

Bishop Denis Dineen, founder of the Celtic Community Church in Ireland - an organisation originally founded by Saint Patrick, Saint Columba and other Celtic saints - is a Mallow-based organisation which describes itself as “a traditional Anglican Catholic denomination”.

He devised the idea with his wife Vicar Elena Aloysius.

Now 72 years old, the Mallow resident found religion later in life and is hoping his faith will serve as a beacon to those in dire straits.

Vicar Aloysius from Switzerland, who joined the order four years ago at just 18 years old, described their unconventional north Cork abode.

“If you walk into our home it looks like a monastery,” she said. “The first thing you’ll see are holy pictures everywhere and a bible on the table.

“It’s effectively a mini church with an altar, flowers and statues. We have a couple of people who come to us regularly but a lot of our masses are streamed online as well. Over time we hope to build our community and eventually acquire a bigger chapel.”

She opened up about home life and the months leading up to their marriage last February.

“Our church is connected all over the world so it was suggested that I travel to Ireland in order for Bishop Denis and I to work together. My boss at the time didn’t believe I would make it a month. For most of the beginning we would just sit with a homeless person at the side of the street. Our lifestyle is very strict. We do the sacraments, pray, and don’t own any properties.

“Neither of us own a car because we feel it brings us away from the people. We meet so many people through public transport and get all kinds of reactions.” She recalled their “no-frills” wedding ceremony.

“We try to keep our lives very simple and get along very well. Bishop Denis and I had a civil ceremony for our wedding before blessing the rings at our own chapel. Our lives are not romantic. My main concentration is the priesthood as I’ve been living a vow of chastity since the age of 18 years old. As husband and wife we are good companions and do everything together. We definitely have a different relationship to most married couples.”

The couple favour helping the homeless over date nights. “We travel on foot armed with backpacks filled with sandwiches and soup. Much of our time is spent going to grocery stores and asking for things we can give to the poor. I’ve never gone out at night or been in a pub or club. Even in my teenage years I spent my free time serving at Mass.”

This article first appeared in today's Evening Echo.


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