02/06/2012 Archbishops Launch Pilgrim Walk

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Archbishop Diarmuid Martin joined with Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin Michael Jackson today, to officially launch the Dublin “Camino” Pilgrim Walk.  

The Pilgrim Walk, which involves visiting and praying in seven city centre churches, began following an ecumenical liturgy in St. Ann’s Church in Dawson Street, Dublin this morning (Saturday, 2nd 11am). Church of Ireland Archbishop Michael Jackson presided at the liturgy joined by Archbishop Martin, Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin, Ray Field and members of the Dublin Diocesan Eucharistic Congress Preparatory committee.

The Pilgrim Walk is the first of its kind in the capital and is being organised by the Dublin Diocesan Eucharistic Congress Preparatory Committee as part of celebrations for the upcoming International Eucharistic Congress.

A Pilgrim Walk is a sacred journey during which pilgrims seek to strengthen and renew their faith. Pilgrims walk with a clear intention, to draw closer to God.

In Whitefriar Street Church Fr. Kevin Bartely introduced a specially commissioned resource, Penal places, Artefacts and People in the Archdiocese of Dublin.

Fr. Kevin Bartley said, “The inspiration for this research was the address by Pope Pius XI to pilgrims gathered in Dublin in 1932, when he encouraged the faithful – ‘That never forgetful of the “Mass Rock” they shall faithfully cherish devotion to the holy Eucharist’. Research shows that while Mass Rocks are quite common on the west coast, on the east coast the Mass Rock was just one of the many places where people gathered for the celebration of the Eucharist. Other Penal Mass Sites such as fields caves and ditches were used in rural areas, while stables and out-houses were used in the urban areas.  They are all recorded here compiled both from historical sources as well as from folklore memory. As we mark the first day of our ‘Pilgrim Walk’ it is hoped that this book will be a further encouragement to the people of the diocese and our many visitors to undertake pilgrimage within the diocese.”

The Walk runs until Saturday 16th June. During this time Pilgrims will walk and visit seven designated churches in Dublin City and spend time in quiet prayer and reflection in each. All pilgrims will be issued with a “Pilgrim Passport” that will be stamped in each of the churches visited and will include a map of the route. The walk will conclude with a visit to St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, Marlborough Street where pilgrims will receive a Certificate of completion. People can participate in groups, on their own; they can complete the Pilgrim walk in a day or throughout the days of the Congress.

Speaking at the launch today Archbishop Martin said, “Pilgrim walks have become particularly attractive to those whose daily lives are filled with responsibilities and other disruptions. We find ourselves longing to leave behind the mundane in order to seek that which is truly important. I invite as many people as possible to walk and pray with us in these days leading up to and during the Congress.”

Speaking of the ecumenical aspect of the Pilgrim Walk, Archbishop Jackson said that St Ann’s Church, Dawson Street, was delighted to be included in the Pilgrim Walk. “St Ann’s is accustomed on a daily basis to people coming to seek God in the historic church. Pilgrims who visit St Ann’s during the International Eucharistic Congress will not only experience the history of St Ann’s along with the other beautiful churches on the Camino, but will themselves be making history. I wish everyone who participates in this pilgrimage the very best. Everything we do here on earth is but the start of the journey,” he commented.

The seven churches participating in the Pilgrim Walk are St Ann’s, Dawson Street, St. James, James Street, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Whitefriar Street, John’s Lane, Thomas Street, St. Mary of the Angels, Church Street, St. Michans, Halston Street, and St. Mary’s Pro Cathedral, Marlborough Street. These churches will open from 8am to 8pm in order to facilitate pilgrims. A Pilgrim Mass will also be held at 5.45 pm each day in St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral.