By Sarah Mac Donald - 28 June, 2013
World Youth Day is one of the most extraordinary experiences a young person can have Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has said.
Speaking at the launch of a specially organised Dublin youth faith festival which will coincide with WYD2013 in Brazil at the end of July, the Archbishop said one of the things anybody who goes to a world youth day says is that they never knew there were so many other young people who shared their faith.
“It can be a lonely path being a person of faith in Ireland today – a lonely path being a person of faith if you are young,” Archbishop Martin acknowledged.
‘Rio in Dublin’ is aimed at those young people who are unable to travel to Brazil for World Youth Day due to lack of finance or work commitments.
It aims to recreate a sense of the atmosphere of World Youth Day over the weekend of 27-28 July through catechises, music, prayer and faith workshops.
It will be attended by hundreds of young people who will be able to link up live with young pilgrims from around the world who have travelled to Brazil for the occasion.
WYD2013 will also see Pope Francis travel abroad for the first time since his pontificate began last March.
Describing the Church in Brazil as “an extraordinarily vibrant Church”, Archbishop Martin said Catholics there have “a tremendous sense of the faith and that faith is very much focused on people.”
The Archbishop, who is one of three Irish bishops who will accompany up to 200 young Irish pilgrims to Brazil, said in his address in the Capuchin Day Centre in Bow Street in Dublin that in Brazil the Church is animated by lively faith communities.
“Our Church here is so institutionalised; it is so institution-oriented. There you go into lively communities and people are taking part and taking responsibility – lay people passing the faith on from generation to generation.” He also paid tribute to the Brazilian Church’s “great sense of fighting for justice.”
Recalling his first visit to Rio in 1992 for a United Nations environment conference attended by about 70 heads of state, the Archbishop said he had stayed in a parish called Nuestra Señora de Copacabana, which he described as “an extraordinary parish” built on seven stories.
“From it you could see that even in the most elegant places in the world there is another side to life – and that is where the Church is.”
Paying tribute to the work of the Capuchins in Dublin as doing “extraordinary work”, he added, “We are very fortunate to have their particular witness to the charism of St Francis in our city.”
In his address, Bro Kevin Crowley who established the food centre in 1969, said: “From humble beginnings, we have grown to be the biggest food centre in the city.”
Every day 250 people come to the centre for breakfast and often as many as 500 people come for lunch, while every Wednesday the centre gives out 1,600 food parcels.
Over the last 43 years, Bro Kevin said, the centre had seen many people in difficulty “but nothing compares to the numbers of people who now need help,” he said.
“Many of these are what we call the ‘new poor’ – people who up until a couple of years ago were in full employment and have lost their jobs and are in danger of losing their homes,” he explained.
“With the collapse of the economy in 2008 our numbers and costs have doubled. In 2007 we provided a service of 157,000 [meals] at the cost of €926,000 and 2012 we provided service of 330,000 [meals] at a cost of 2.1m,” he stated.
Capuchin guardian of Church Street, Fr Bryan Shorthall, recalled his participation in World Youth Day in Cologne in 2005, where over a million young people came for the final mass to see Pope Benedict.
“World Youth Day is a fantastic experience for young people to see the pope and celebrate their faith. Young people want to meet the pope,” Fr Shorthall said.
According to organisers, ‘Rio in Dublin’ incorporates a strong social justice programme. It will see the young participants work in collaboration with Crosscare, the social care agency of the archdiocese of Dublin, and the Capuchin Day Centre to assist the homeless over the course of the two days.
Magis Ireland, the Jesuit Young Adult Ministry, will also run a social immersion programme which will help the young participants engage with social issues from a faith perspective. These include areas such as homelessness, immigration and emigration, as well as those living with special needs and disability.
Over the weekend, a programme of prayer, reflections, music and live links to Rio will take place even at nighttime. The two nights will see workshops on prayer and guided prayer take place until dawn.
Gerard Gallagher of the Office of Evangelisation in Dublin who has been in charge of organising ‘Rio in Dublin’ described the event as trying to give an expression of WYD here at home.
On the Saturday young people will gather at four locations around the city – St Andrew’s Church on Westland Row, Heuston Station, St Mary’s Pro Cathedral and Gardiner Street and will then walk to Church Street.
“On arrival at the Capuchins, they will be greeted with Brazilian music after which they will come into the church where there is prayer, teaching, choirs and live links to Rio right through the night – so people in Dublin won’t miss out on what is happening in Rio!” he said.