Dublin church transformed for homelessSunday, June 10th, 2012
A special ‘agape meal’ at Dublin’s Westland Row church saw Archbishop Diarmuid Martin share a meal with some of the city’s most disadvantaged last Thursday, as part of the celebrations leading up to the Eucharistic Congress.
Pews in Westland Row church were set aside for the afternoon as up to 400 people shared a meal, many of whom would normally be looked after by the diocese of Dublin's social care agency, Crosscare, through its food and homeless services.
Breaking bread with them along with some members of Crosscare's staff, Archbishop Martin said, “This meal and the work carried out by Crosscare each day with those most in need in this city brings into sharp focus the theme of the Congress, in communion with Christ and with one another.”
Westland Row church, which celebrated its 180th Anniversary just over a month ago, was transformed into a restaurant for the afternoon by Crosscare staff and volunteers from the Dublin Diocesan preparatory committee for the Eucharistic Congress.
The diners enjoyed a three-course meal and were entertained by the Dublin Gospel Choir while members of Crosscare’s disability awareness programme provided dance performances.
Speaking at the lunch, Archbishop Martin said there is a tremendous atmosphere in the church, and that he wanted to share the spirit of the Congress with people who may not attend or who may not have heard of it.
“Crosscare’s services to people in need are made possible with the support of the community of believers like those to be found in this parish,” Archbishop Martin said in a tribute to the local parish community. Crosscare Director, Conor Hickey, said the lunch was being hosted in a spirit of love, gratitude and humility in service.
“This is about us serving the people we work with and saying thanks to them for allowing us to work and to travel with them on their journey in life," Mr Hickey said. He added, "It’s also an opportunity for Archbishop Martin and myself to say thank you to Crosscare staff who work with such energy and enthusiasm, with and on behalf of the most vulnerable people in need in Dublin."
For over 70 years, Crosscare has been working with people all over Dublin who are on the margins of society. The agency runs breakfast clubs, hot food services, a food bank, migrant support and homeless accommodation for people in need all over Dublin
By Sarah Mac Donald