Archbishops unite on first ecumenical walk


HISTORY WILL be made today when, for the first time since the Reformation, the two archbishops of Dublin will lead an ecumenical walk behind a cross through the streets of the city this Good Friday evening.

Catholic Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and Church of Ireland Archbishop Michael Jackson hope to be joined by many fellow Christians in this unique event.

Participants will gather at Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, at 7.15pm for a prayer service. The procession will leave at 7.30pm, and is expected to arrive at St Mary’s Pro Cathedral on Marlborough Street at about 8pm. A service of prayers at the foot of the cross will take place there.

Archbishop Martin said “our common witness to Jesus Christ is more necessary if we wish to be heard and appreciated and contribute to the common good of a society which is becoming increasingly secularised.”

Archbishop Jackson said he wished to share “with the citizens of Dublin the conviction which both Archbishop Martin and I hold, that what unites us in Christ is more significant and transformative than whatever divides us.”

Both men expressed the hope that they would be joined in the procession by people of their two traditions.

Archbishop Jackson is also scheduled to take part in the first full day of events at the Catholic Church’s International Ecumenical Congress in the RDS on Monday, June 11th. The theme of the day will be Communion in One Baptism.

At noon today Archbishop Martin will lead the annual Way of the Cross procession, organised by the lay Communion and Liberation movement, in the Phoenix Park – from the Wellington monument to the Papal Cross.

Yesterday at the Chrism Mass in Dublin’s Pro Cathedral, Archbishop Martin said “we face many difficulties as the church in the archdiocese of Dublin. We have many signs also of hope and commitment.

“The church in the archdiocese has experienced its moments of darkness, but must never be trapped in the darkness of hopelessness or cynicism.

“You know and I know that in this archdiocese we have great priests: men of prayer and care, of generosity dedication. We are here today in a special way to celebrate the ministry of our priests.”

He asked people to pray for their priests. “I ask you to support your priests. I ask our priests to support each other,” he said.

At the Chrism Mass in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh, yesterday the Catholic primate Cardinal Seán Brady said “the ordained priesthood whose birthday we celebrate today is not for one moment to be seen as an opposition to the priesthood of all the baptised.”

He continued, “on the contrary the ordained priesthood has as its purpose to create one humanity in the whole world dedicated to God. Today we give thanks to God for all the priests throughout the world and especially for those present in our own country and in our own diocese . . . We ask the prayers of all here present that we be examples of faithful service and generous love.”