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CofI bishop to do Stations of the Cross by rail

By Sean Ryan - 22 March, 2015

Voluntary bucket collection will be held at every railway station in aid of their Railway Benefit Fund which supports needy railway families in hard times.

Bishop Michael BurrowsThe Church of Ireland Bishop of Cashel, Ferns and Ossory, the Rt Rev Michael Burrows, is undertaking the ‘Stations of the Cross’ with a difference on Good Friday.

Bishop Burrows, who is a keen lover of rail travel, will undertake his Stations of the Cross at 15 railway stations throughout his diocese on Good Friday (3 April)..

The novel venture will take him through railway stations across counties Carlow, Kilkenny, Wicklow, Laois, Offaly, Wexford, Tipperary and Waterford.

At each station he will deliver a short tailor-made reflection for the day and for the area.

The Bishop’s busy Good Friday schedule will see him commence in Waterford Cathedral at 7.30am with a short prayer service before boarding his first train and making his first journey from Waterford at 8am.

He will travel to Carrick on Suir station where the next Station of the Cross will take place at 8.45am and the bishop will then travel on to Clonmel arriving at 9.20am; he will then travel to Tipperary town at 10.20am and will arrive in Thurles at 11.20am.

Other towns which will be passed through include Templemore at 11.50am, Ballybrophy at 12.40pm, Portlaoise at 13.15, Kilkenny at 15.20, Thomastown at 16.00, Wexford at 17.20, Enniscorthy at 18.15, Gorey at 19.05, Carlow at 20.30, Bangelstown at 21.15 before he concludes his journey with Compline in the Cathedral in Leighlin at 22.00.

Speaking about his love of railways Bishop Burrows said it is his favourite method of travel.

He recently “booked a journey on the overnight sleeper train from London to Aberdeen – a journey of some 10 hours or so. For someone rather fond of railways, this promises to be a rare treat! The delights of a railway sleeper are manifold.”

“Not only does one feel warm in one’s bunk as the train rushes along – one also greets the morning in quite a different context to that in which one had experienced the previous evening. These travelling hotels do not simply provide excellent comfort in a very confined space; they also bear the sleeping traveller from country to country and culture to culture.”

According to Bishop Burrows the Easter journey “has been organised with the kind support of Irish Rail. In recognition of this there will be a voluntary bucket collection at every railway station in aid of their Railway Benefit Fund which supports needy people associated with the railway and their families in hard times.”

The Railway Benefit Fund charity (one of the few to enjoy Royal Charter) was founded in 1857 to support needy railway families where illness, bereavement or other misfortunes caused hardship.

All of the major railway companies in Great Britain and Ireland subscribed to it and still do.

The Irish Branch, chaired by Rev Gregg Ryan NSM who works with Iarnród Éireann, remained part of the organisation after the founding of the Free State and continues to hold a seat with the other constituent regions, meeting quarterly in London.

All funds raised in Ireland, mainly through staff payroll and significant gestures such as that being undertaken by the Bishop of Cashel and Ossory, Rt Rev Michael Burrows, are dispensed to Irish railway workers, or their survivors and dependents, in cases of hardship ranging from annuities to widows, funeral or daily expenses.

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