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Coronavirus: Trainee priest goes back to work as a doctor at the Mater


The Mater Hospital in Belfast

The Mater Hospital in Belfast


The Mater Hospital in Belfast

A North Belfast man training to become a priest has put his studies on hold to return to the health service as it battles the coronavirus pandemic.

Brother Chris Gault (30), who is originally from the Antrim Road, went back to work at the Mater Hospital, where he was a junior doctor, on Wednesday.

The Queen's University graduate moved to Dublin and joined the Dominican Order in 2018, undertaking a course in philosophy as part of his training.

After the Government issued an appeal asking former medics to return to the health service, Mr Gault decided to sign up.

"I talked to my superiors and they were happy and encouraging," he told the Irish News.

"I just volunteered. The trust and the health service is undergoing a lot of change.

"They are adapting to a lot of change in these current circumstances. I never wavered. Once the backing came, I was happy to go for it. My skills are quite limited in comparison to a lot of my colleagues, who I met today and who were so welcoming.

"They have been on the front line (and) their training is better than mine.I will be looking to support them. They are true heroes (and) I have a great admiration for them."

Mr Gault admitted he felt a little "rusty" ahead of his return and explained he would be working in a supporting capacity until he felt back up to speed.

"This is a response according to need, not my desire," he said.

"I'd rather be living my religious life in my monastery, praying with my brothers, but this was a response at a time of need.

"It is extraordinary and it is temporary. While it is needed, I am here to help."

Belfast Telegraph