Bringing the Light of Christ to Dublin’s City Centre – Walk of Light 2018
Over 250 people took part in Dublin Council of Churches’ Walk of Light in the city centre yesterday afternoon (Sunday November 25). The 14th annual inter–church journey travelled from St Ann’s, Dawson Street to St Teresa’s, Clarendon Street and finished at Adelaide Road Presbyterian Church.
The ecumenical pilgrimage takes place each year on the Feast of Christ the King and as the dark evenings symbolise the dark times of homelessness, the displacement of millions of people across the globe and the threat of climate change, participants aim to bring the light of Christ onto the streets of Dublin.
This year’s theme was ‘Encounter, Engage, Empower’. The first of these, ‘encounter’, was the focus in St Ann’s Church where participants considered the impact of the Samaritan woman’s encounter with Christ at the well. In St Teresa’s the congregation was urged to engage with those in need in Dublin’s city centre. In Adelaide Road Presbyterian Church the journey concluded with a reflection on God’s call, asking for his guidance and empowerment to face the challenges ahead and to bring the light of Christ into the lives of all we encounter.
This year’s charity was the Peter McVerry Trust and Fr McVerry addressed the congregation in St Teresa’s Church. He said society labels the groups it wishes to destroy and suggested that that Samaritan woman in today’s Ireland, the people who had forfeited the right to respect, were homeless people, Travellers, drug users, ex–prisoners.
“What is the hardest part of being homeless?” he asked. “Is it having nowhere to sleep? No. Is it being board all day with nowhere to go? No. It’s knowing that no one cares. Your very homelessness keeps telling you that you have been rejected. If you disappeared off the face of the earth no one would notice and if they did, they wouldn’t care. You have lost everything.”
Fr McVerry said that when we judge someone, exclude someone, look down on someone, we imply that we are a better person than they are. Yet, he pointed out, there is nothing we have that is not a gift. “It is only by listening to homeless people that I know how blessed I have been. Each homeless person has their own story and each story recounts the gifts they have been given. Because their gifts are different than mine doesn’t give me the right to exclude them,” he said.
Eleven local churches participate in the Walk of Light which follows a different route each year. They are Adelaide Road Presbyterian Church, the Church of Our Lady of Refuge, the Korean Methodist Church, Holy Trinity Rathmines, Methodist Centenary Church, Newman University Church, St Bartholomew’s Church, St Finian’s Lutheran Church, St Gabriel’s Parish of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, St Mary’s Church and St Teresa’s Carmelite Church.