The Archdeacon of Raphoe, Ven. David Huss, is taking to the roads of south Donegal by bicycle in a series of socially-distanced parish visits around the Parishes of Donegal, Killymard, Lough Eske and Laghey.
The local rector is encouraging parishioners to come to the door and say hello – from a distance of at least 2 metres – in line with the government’s Covid-19 guidelines.
“I was missing seeing people face to face,” Archdeacon Huss said, before setting off. “We’re now permitted to do ‘outdoor’ get-togethers, as long as we’re not in groups of more than four, so the idea came: why not do it by bike?”
The rector said his wife, Bev, who is a GP, was delighted with the parish pilgrimage. “Bev had a hand in the suggestion,” he said, “in fact the actual idea of going out on the bike was probably hers, so she’s very pleased to see me breaking away from my sedentary lifestyle and getting exercise. I’ve been passed as ‘medically fit’.”
Day one – which coincidentally is World Bicycle Day – will take Archdeacon Huss out of Donegal Town, along the Killybegs Road to Summerhill, Edrim, Drimark, Drumstevlin and Ballydevitt. On Thursday 4th June he will travel to Drumrooske, along Lough Eske Road, on to Winterhill, Orbeg, Haugh and Heneys. “I’ll be setting off each day at about 2pm,” the Rector said, “and finishing who knows when. From next week I’ll crank it up to longer distances; there are a few hills in the parish but I’m spreading it over several days so I should be fine.”
Archdeacon Huss is at pains to point out that he will be observing social distancing on his travels. “I hope to wave to people, stop at the gate, say hello, hopefully say a quick prayer. I won’t go into people’s houses or accept cups of tea – not until I’m permitted to do so and that won’t be for the foreseeable future. Physical distancing doesn’t mean spiritual distancing, though, so it’s important to keep in pastoral contact. Doing it by bike is a great way of doing it: it’s good for my health and fitness, and it may create a bit more interest.”