Cardinal gives Holy Thursday homily
CARDINAL Sean Brady last night paid tribute to the faithful whom he believes were instrumental in Ireland being chosen to host the Eucharistic Congress here this summer.
The Archbishop of Armagh and the Primate of All Ireland said it was "a tribute to our fidelity to the Mass down through the centuries and a challenge to us to rise to the occasion, once more".
In his Holy Thursday homily, delivered at St Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin last night, he also reminded worshippers that the day was one celebrated as the anniversary of the day when Jesus Christ ordained his first priest.
And he paid tribute to "God for all the priests throughout the world and especially for those present in our own country and in our own diocese".
"We think especially of priests who are sick or in difficulty at this time and we offer them the support of our prayers and sacrifices," he said.
Meanwhile, thousands of worshippers are expected to gather on Mount Leinster on the Carlow/Wexford border for an Easter Sunday celebration which attracts young people disillusioned with the mainstream Catholic Church.
The 6am Mass will be preceded by a pilgrimage, traditional music and a ceremonial lighting of the Easter fire.
The Mass, which is now in its fourth year, attracted more than 4,000 people last year.
It will be celebrated by Fr Declan Foley and Fr Paddy Byrne, the local curate from Bagenalstown, Co Carlow.
Fr Byrne will today repeat his successful 'Tweet Around the Clock' ceremony coinciding with the traditional Good Friday Stations of the Cross.
Fr Byrne, who has more than 2,100 followers on Twitter, said yesterday the social networking site was a useful way of connecting with young people "outside of the church walls".
Easter represents a "good news story" for many who feel "disconnected" with the church, he said. "The big problem with the church is that it was just the 'middle ground' for too long."
"I think in the past, if you look at the make-up of a lot of liturgies, it's a certain age group and a certain class, middle-class. Where are the thirty-somethings?"
Last year Fr Byrne received "hundreds of messages" on Twitter as he marked Good Friday with a series of prayers and thoughts sent out from the parish church in Bagenalstown.
"What it is is a way to engage with the cyberworld in the context of the parochial setting," he said.