Father Borkenhagen ‘stranded’ in Ireland

Father Jason Borkenhagen. (Catholic Advance file photo)

Father Jason Borkenhagen was 1,200 miles away from where he thought he would be Saturday, March 21, when he answered a call from the Catholic Advance.

Father Borkenhagen wasn’t in the Eternal City, where he is a student, he was on the Emerald Isle, marooned in Ireland until Italy re-opens its pandemic-closed borders.

“I came to give a talk here,” he said. “I didn’t know that the whole of Italy was going to close.”

Father Borkenhagen, a priest of the Diocese of Wichita, is researching St. Thomas Aquinas’ understanding of moral reasoning at the University of St. Thomas, also known as the Angelicum, in Rome, a topic he studied in Cork, Ireland, two summers ago.

He said he may be able to catch a flight on April 9, but until he can return to Rome, he is staying in Saints Peter and Paul Parish.He is helping the parish with adoration and confessions during a diocesan-wide Mass suspension but has time to study.

“The Angelicum put all their classes online almost immediately. The Italians shut down the schools on the 5th of March,” he said. “The next week we were online.”

Father Borkenhagen said he did take some work with him to Ireland but never anticipated the entire country of Italy would be locked down.

The borders of the individual countries of the European Union have been temporarily reintroduced as a result of the pandemic, he said.

“It’s definitely strange. Ireland isn’t on a lockdown like France and Germany and Spain and Italy. Most things are closed, but Ireland is not on an imposed lockdown.”