'Black Santa' appeal opens
The 2012 Black Santa sit out at St Ann’s Church on Dublin’s Dawson Street got underway at 2 pm today when it was launched by Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin Michael Jackson and the city’s Lord Mayor of Dublin, Naoise Ó Muirí.
This annual sit-out will continue until Christmas Eve. The Vicar of St Ann’s Rev David Gillespie will sit outside St Ann’s from 10am until 6pm each day collecting money for a number of charities. He will be accompanied each day by other priests of the diocese.
They will be joined by different choirs each lunchtime including, for the first time this year the Mater Dei School and Catholic University School choirs. On Christmas Eve the Stedfast Band will perform.
Dublin’s Black Santa sit out is modelled on a similar appeal, which has been run by successive Deans of St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast for many years. It became known as the Black Santa appeal because of the long heavy black cloaks worn by the clergy to keep out the cold.
The money collected at St Ann’s this year will be distributed to St Vincent de Paul, the Salvation Army, the Simon Community, Protestant Aid, Trust and the Church of Ireland Overseas Aid.
Last year the Black Santa Appeal in Dublin raised a record-breaking €30,000.
“It is strange to think that the appeal last year raised the largest amount of money ever collected during the sit-out,” Rev Gillespie said, commenting in the context of the current recession.
“But it was very humbling to meet people who had come especially to donate to the appeal and who had been collecting all year round for it,” he said.