A brave Kildare priest said mass on Sunday morning only moments after he had faced down two knife-wielding attackers.
The only sign parishioners at Allenwood church had that anything was wrong was when Fr. Eddie Moore started mass about 10 minutes late.
“He was shaken, but he said Mass,” local parishioner Johnny Callaghan told the Leinster Leader.
It was only when he told them what had happened, in lieu of his normal homily, that the congregation realised the ordeal that he had been through.
It is understood that the two men turned up that morning at the parochial house in nearby Allen, where Fr. Moore is based, and demanded that he open the safe.
According to one parishioner, Fr. Moore felt at the time that the pair of would-be attackers were “a bit amateurish”. He activated his panic-button alarm and the pair fled.
“They were very threatening, and he was very shaken,” a parishioner said.
Johnny Callaghan explained that he was “due to do one of the readings that day and I was in the sacristy beforehand.
“I left it just before 10 am. He arrived soon after and called one of the lads. We knew there was something wrong but we thought maybe that it had something to do with his car.
“On a couple of occasions throughout the Mass it seemed like he would break down, but he kept going, and finished it.”
Afterwards, in a show of support to the elderly priest, the whole congregation flooded into the sacristy to sympathise with him.
Fr. Moore was not available for comment on Monday as the Leinster Leader was going to press.