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Thursday 23 November 2017

Bishops lead 200 pilgrims in show of solidarity

Sarah MacDonald

MEMBERS of different religions came together for a rare Good Friday ecumenical procession through the streets of Dublin.

Up to 200 pilgrims joined the city's Catholic and Church of Ireland archbishops in the event, only the second such held.

Over the two kilometres from Christ Church Cathedral to St Mary's Pro Cathedral, participants were led by Archbishops Diarmuid Martin and Michael Jackson, who carried a large Taize cross between them.

The walk began with a prayer service in Christ Church at 7pm. The two religious leaders then led the pilgrims to the Pro-Cathedral in Marlborough Street where an ecumenical prayer service was held.

Rev Asa Bjork Olafsdottir, of Christ Church Dun Laoghaire, described the procession as "an act of visible Christian witness" on one of the most sacred days in the Christian calendar, and a sign of the goodwill and close collaboration between the two religious communities.

Originally from Iceland, the Lutheran rector, who has been in Ireland for two years, said: "I think we should concentrate on what unites us rather than what divides us."

Dr Jackson said the procession was "a very human and unstructured pilgrimage". He added that as religion became more invisible in a secular society, "it is important to have the courage and the confidence" to witness faith on the streets.

Among the participants were brothers Christopher (24), Dominic (20) and Roger Berkeley (17).

Primary school teacher Christopher said: "It is an important time for Christians so it is important to do something to mark it."

Sr Fionnuala Lynch (49) and Indonesian priest Fr Anselmus (35) agreed the procession was an important pubic gesture of faith and an act of solidarity between Christian faiths.

In Rome, Pope Francis presided over his first Good Friday, culminating in a torch-lit procession at the Colosseum.

In Jerusalem, hundreds of Christians streamed through the cobblestoned alleyways of the Old City, carrying wooden crosses and chanting prayers.

Throngs of pilgrims retraced Jesus' steps along the Via Dolorosa, and a service was held in Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, built on the traditional site of Jesus' birth.

Irish Independent

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