Bishop Kenneth Kearon and Bishop Brendan Leahy will join the Primate of All-Ireland on the procession through Limerick
In a departure from tradition the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches will hold a joint procession through the streets of Limerick this Good Friday.
The ‘Way of the Cross’, will stop off at various locations to highlight forms of poverty and need, care and affection.
The procession will be led by Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland Richard Clarke; Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Limerick Brendan Leahy; Church of Ireland Bishop of the Diocese of Limerick, Kenneth Kearon; Dean of St. Mary’s Church of Ireland Cathedral Dean Niall J. Sloane; Dean of St. John’s Cathedral Fr. Noel Kirwin along with other priests of the dioceses.
It will link the city’s two cathedrals in another reminder of the closeness of Christian faith. It also comes in a week in which the significance of cathedrals and faith was brought to the fore as people the world over were shocked and saddened by the fire that ravaged Notre Dame. Bishops Brendan Leahy and Kenneth Kearon have penned a joint letter of support to Archbishop of Paris Michel Christian Alain Aupetit in response to the fire.
Friday’s ceremony will commence at 12 midday with an opening rite at St. Mary’s Cathedral and will pause for prayers at various locations to acknowledge services and issues that affect society and the public.
The stations will include the Opening Rite at St. Mary’s Cathedral and stop for prayers at Arthur’s Quay where youth mental health service Jigsaw is based, and at Poor Man’s Kilkee in recognition of the work of the Samaritans, also on mental health issues.
It will also take in Bedford Row where the Bedford Row Family Project engages with families of prisoners; Thomas Street, where it will remember the dead; Brother Russell House at Gerald Griffin Street in recognition of work done there for the homeless, particularly through food distribution; St. John’s Hospital for the sick and then to St. John’s Cathedral for the Closing Rite.
Each stop is designed to match one of the stations in a book by Fr. Liam Ryan. People have been, or will be, asked to read the material given at each of the stations.
Said Bishop Leahy: “This is the first time we will have a significant ecumenical Good Friday procession and we encourage everyone who is in need of support or know someone who needs support to join us in this very special gathering.
“Many countries have a great tradition of procession at Easter and we have, too, but mostly these stations are in our churches. It is only right that we bring this procession out into the public, to let those people who need support and those who provide support know that they are foremost in our thoughts.
“The fact also that we are linking our two cathedrals is very pertinent in a week in which the world has been shocked by the fire at Notre Dame. It is one of the great cathedrals of the world but we have our own great cathedrals here and, in fact, St. Mary’s Cathedral is just five years younger than Notre Dame and the oldest building in Limerick still in use today.”
Said Bishop Kenneth Kearon: “Christ suffered on the cross for us and we do the Way of the Cross in reparation for what he endured. But today there are many, many people who endure suffering, who carry crosses and we want to bring them into our thoughts this Good Friday with this procession.
“We must pray for them and support them and our Good Friday procession is a statement of solidarity with them at this solemn time as we also remember the ultimate sacrifice made for us by Christ.”