Good Friday in Limerick City will see Christian communities come together for a ‘Way of the Cross’ walk through the streets.
The procession will be led by Bishop Brendan Leahy, Bishop of Limerick; Archbishop Richard Clarke, COI Archbishop of Armagh; Bishop Kenneth Kearon, COI Bishop of Limerick Diocese; Dean Niall J. Sloane of Saint Mary’s Church of Ireland and Father Noel Kirwan, Dean of Saint John’s Cathedral .
The ecumenical walk will link the city’s two cathedrals in another reminder of the closeness of Christian faith. The Way of the Cross will take place in a week in which the significance of faith and the spaces in which Christians worship was brought to the fore as people the world over were shocked and saddened by the fire that ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Bishop Brendan Leahy and Bishop Kenneth Kearon have penned a joint letter of support to the Archbishop of Paris Michel Christian Alain Aupetit in response to the fire.
Friday’s ceremony will commence at 12 midday with an opening rite at St. Mary’s Cathedral. The walk will then commence with participants pausing for prayers at various locations to acknowledge the services that are in place for those affected by poverty and other social issues in the city.
One of the stops along the walk will be at Arthur’s Quay where youth mental health service Jigsaw is based, and at Poor Man’s Kilkee in recognition of the work of the Samaritans, also on mental health issues.
The walk will also take in the Bedford Row Family Project which engages with families of prisoners; Brother Russell House at Gerald Griffin Street in recognition of work done there for the homeless, particularly through food distribution, St. John’s Hospital for the sick and then to St. John’s Cathedral for the Closing Rite.
Commenting ahead of the walk, Bishop Leahy said, “This is the first time we will have a significant ecumenical Good Friday procession and we encourage everyone who is in need of support or know someone who needs support to join us in this very special gathering.
“Many countries have a great tradition of procession at Easter and we have, too, but mostly these Stations are in our churches. It is only right that we bring this procession out into the public, to let those people who need support and those who provide support know that they are foremost in our thoughts.
“The fact also that we are linking our two cathedrals is very pertinent in a week in which the world has been shocked by the fire at Notre Dame. It is one of the great cathedrals of the world but we have our own great cathedrals here and, in fact, St. Mary’s Cathedral is just five years younger than Notre Dame and the oldest building in Limerick still in use today.”
Bishop Kenneth Kearon said, “Christ suffered on the Cross for us and we do the Way of the Cross in reparation for what he endured. But today there are many, many people who endure suffering, who carry crosses and we want to bring them into our thoughts this Good Friday with this procession.
“We must pray for them and support them and our Good Friday procession is a statement of solidarity with them at this solemn time as we also remember the ultimate sacrifice made for us by Christ.”