Faithful flock to annual 'Way of the Cross' and Passion Play
A HOST of religious solemn events took place across the country yesterday to mark Good Friday.
Hundreds of people turned out for the annual 'Way of the Cross' held at the Phoenix Park, Dublin. It was the 11th year of the event organised by the Catholic Movement Communion and Liberation, which holds similar events in countries around the world.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, leading the prayers, said that while the Christian life should be one of "absolute coherence and integrity," very often we use "the language of integrity to cover our lack of integrity".
"Today those who lack integrity form their partnerships and their own clubs. They are drawn to each other and become blind to nothing but their own interests. Lack of integrity quickly becomes infectious," he commented.
He prayed that God would give the Catholic Church "the strength to resist all temptation to be on the side of a power which corrupts or is corrupt".
The Archbishop talked of those who had plotted the execution of Jesus, saying they had forced others to do their dirty work.
"We see this daily, in the way that those whose business is to ruin the lives of others through drug abuse or criminal violence, never make their faces known but assign the dirty work to others, not that these can evade the responsibility for what they do," he said.
May Collins, from Finglas in Dublin, has been attending the event for many years and this time brought along her cousin Margaret Collins.
"It's a lovely way to mark the day," she said.
Tourist Brenda McElhaney, from Lawrence in Kansas, USA, stumbled upon the prayer service by accident during a visit to the Phoenix Park.
"It's really beautiful. We have nothing like this at home and I wish we had," she said.
The long-running Passion Play returned to St Catherine's Church, on Meath Street in Dublin, for the first time in three years following a fire which gutted the historic church in 2012.
In the meantime, parishioners had been attending St John's Lane church on nearby Thomas Street but said "it never felt like home".
St Catherine's was packed yesterday for the showing of the Passion Play, which saw the father of singer Imelda May, Tony Clabby, take the role of Judas.
Imelda was unable to attend because she was jetting off to America to promote her new single, Tony explained.
The Passion Play finished on an impressively dramatic note, with dry ice and the crack of thunder.
Josie Sheahan, who played Mary, and Cora Costello, who took the role of Mary Magdalene, said they "wouldn't miss the play for the world."
"We started as hecklers years and years ago and my own children tell us we're too old to be doing this now but we love it," said Josie.
Both were born in the area and said they were devastated when St Catherine's burned down.
Fr Niall Coghlan paid tribute to the actors, who had rehearsed for six weeks preparing the event.
"It's the first time the organ has been played in over two years," he revealed, adding that the organist had been "very emotional" to be back at the keys.