Monday 12 November 2018

Army of supporters to join priest on final leg of 'atonement' walk

Ralph Riegel

HUNDREDS of supporters of a protesting priest will cheer his arrival in the Pro-Cathedral today on the final leg of his marathon 'atonement' walk from Cork to Dublin.

Father Michael Mernagh last night reached Rathfarnham in Dublin on the penultimate leg of his trek, which he undertook as a gesture of atonement for the Church's handling of clerical child abuse cases over the past two decades.

The Augustinian cleric launched the atonement walk after what he described as "the inexcusable" Diocese of Cloyne abuse allegations. He said he found these to be "the lowest ebb" of a sad, tragic story for the Church.

Yesterday, Fr Michael passed through the Dublin mountains and will today walk through Dublin's southern suburbs before entering the city centre and the Pro-Cathedral.

The cleric told the Irish Independent he will walk from the Ballycullen Road to Firhouse, Terenure, Harold's Cross, Patrick Street, Christchurch and Dame Street -- with hundreds of supporters set to join him along the route.

He is then hoping to arrive at the Pro-Cathedral off O'Connell Street at 1.30pm on the Feast of the Epiphany.

Fr Michael works from St Katherine's Parish in Dublin's inner city, supporting the South Inner City Community Development Association in their efforts to promote social inclusion in the Liberties.

Last night, he stressed that he had had a wonderful reaction along his entire journey from Cork.

He said he met "so many supporters of my proposal for the need for change, for a new way of being a church and a people together".

The lengthy trek itself has posed few problems for the fit cleric. He has had no problems with blisters or sore feet thanks to the fact he is an experienced marathon runner.

Fr Michael also confirmed that he had had a number of calls from victims of abuse who were interested in what he was doing and the message he was promoting.

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