By Cian Molloy - 29 January, 2018
The Parish of Seán McDermott Street in Dublin’s city centre, is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Salesian Order’s involvement in the parish administration.
In addition to running Our Lady of Lourdes Church, which is home to the Shrine of the Venerable Matt Talbot, the Salesians also run the Crinian Youth Project, as a response to the disastrous impact of heroin on many of the parish’s young people.
At a Mass marking the silver anniversary, the Salesian provincial Fr Michael Casey was generous in praising others who are also working to support the people of the parish, including the Daughters of Charity, the Columban Missionary Sisters, the local schools, the local day centre for the elderly, the parish’s pastoral council and those working in the local health services.
But in his homily yesterday (Sunday), chief celebrant Archbishop Diarmuid Martin remarked that there are three others ‘constantly present, invisibly animating the spiritual and the human development of this community’. The three are: Don Bosco, founder of the Salesians; Matt Talbot and Our Lady of Lourdes.
“Don Bosco was a great saint of the people,” said the Archbishop. “He worked within communities and especially with young people. Anywhere in the world where you find a Salesian community you find a presence among young people that is practical, caring, and forward-looking. I have visited Salesian schools in the poorest parts of the world and the Salesian presence is always one that provides practical help for young people, no matter what their belief. The Spirit of Don Bosco is one that sets out to enable every young person to reach his or her full God-given potential as individuals and to build up a community that surrounds and helps young people.
“So many families here in this parish can thank God that even in hard times, and in the face of many negative forces, they have seen their children grow up to become good citizens and good Christians and good parents, people of whom this parish can be proud.”
Describing Matt Talbot as ‘a true Dubliner, who faced the challenges of Dublin in difficult times’, the Archbishop said, “He was a worker, a very simple man who was able in the midst of poverty and disadvantage to be truly a man of God, a mystic, and a man of prayer. He lived a saintly life not by running way from his place of hard work and his difficult social environment. He stayed here and found holiness here. Over the years, he has touched hearts and he has answered the hidden prayers of many a parent or of individuals in heart breaking situations of addiction. His presence here is truly a blessing.
“The third figure is Our Lady of Lourdes, patron of this parish. Mary is the model of a strong woman who sought out God’s will and stood by her Son Jesus when his unfailing love was responded to with rejection and when his goodness was responded to with shameful violence. Mary is the one who reminds us of how the presence of goodness will eventually overcome the arrogance of the violent.”
“The future of this parish and its people will be shaped not by the drug barons but by the goodness and the determination of good honest and courageous citizens, young and old, women and men, who care not for their own wealth and power, but for the safe and happy future of our younger generations.
“May the Lord bless this parish and especially its young people.”