By Sean Ryan - 26 November, 2016
The newly ordained Bishop of Killaloe, Fintan Monahan, will be among the 20 priests present in Skycourt Shopping Centre, Shannon in County Clare for the second ‘Mercy on The Mall’ day on Thursday, 8 December next.
Priests will make themselves available to people in Skycourt who would like to avail of the opportunity for Confession, a chat or a blessing. The event will run from 1 pm to 6 pm.
‘Mercy on The Mall’ first took place in Skycourt Shopping Centre in Shannon last year at the start of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. The day proved so successful that both management and priests were asked to organise a day again this year.
The initiative comes from the call of Pope Francis for priests to bring the gospel to the market place and to make themselves available to people who wish to avail of the sacrament or to make a connection with the Church.
Last year, all 20 priests were kept busy with shoppers. One woman who availed of the sacrament described her experience as “liberating”, while another remarked that it was a “new beginning”. Priests will be located at different locations in the mall for those who wish to engage with them.
The school choir from St Conaire’s Primary School in Shannon will provide seasonal music and song.
Speaking about last year’s initiative, Shannon’s Parish Priest, Fr Tom Ryan, said that it came “in response to Pope Francis’ call to priests to go out to the market place and proclaim the Gospel.”
He said: “There are shopping centres in every large town in the country. There is no reason why they couldn’t do the same. The Year of Mercy is the opportunity to do that. I think if the initiative is of benefit to just one person the day will have been worthwhile.”
His words were echoed by Skycourt Manager, Pat Kelly, who said he was happy to support the initiative. “I jumped on it straight away as I thought it was a great idea. It gives Christmas shoppers an opportunity to do their shopping under one roof and avail of the opportunity to meet with a priest and have a chat in a neutral environment where they are comfortable.”