Brentwood Priest Gets Icy Reception

Updated 9:30AM, Wednesday July 25th, 2012 by Simon Cross, Be the first to comment! seperator

Many of us have lived in fear of a thunderbolt from a wrathful God from time to time, but the priest leading a service in Brentwood, Essex, must have thought his time really had come when a block of ice crashed through the roof of his Cathedral.

The block of ice is more likely to have fallen from a plane, than from the hand of a wrathful creator

Father James MacKay was leading a Sunday service, when the ice block smashed a hole in the slate roof, and crashed through to the floor below.

Horrified congregants watched aghast as pieces of stone and ice hurtled to the ground in front of them.

But Fr MacKay managed to remain calm despite the shock, and went on to finish the service in heroic style, despite the shocking interruption.

Aviation experts have said that the damage was more likely to be from ice forming on a jet engine, than a divine warning.

The Civil Aviation Authority said they receive around 30 reports per year of ice blocks falling from aircraft, although often they are actually caused by natural weather conditions.

Fr MacKay, who continued the service despite trembling with shock, said: "Halfway through the celebration there was what sounded like a massive explosion to the left side of the cathedral.

"Everything stopped as we heard this. I turned to my left to see lots of slate and what looked like white stuff, which we now know was ice, falling from the roof.

"I was trembling with a bit of shock. After a couple of seconds of shocked pause I said, 'Right, let's crack on,' and we did so."

The damage has now been repaired at the cost of hundreds of pounds.

On a website celebrating the visit of the Pope in 2010, Fr Martin Boland, the Cathedral Dean wrote: ‘Amid all the pressures of modern life I hope the Cathedral provides a sanctuary of prayer and stillness for all people.’

Evidently this can’t always be guaranteed.



This article was written and published by Simon Cross for


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