A Walk of Remembrance was held in the parish of Our Lady of Lourdes in Dublin on Palm Sunday, 29th March 2015, to commemorate those who have passed away due to addiction, illness or suicide.
This was a procession with a difference. Taking into account that so many young people had lost their lives to addiction and other illnesses in the area, and how the local community seeks to keep their memory alive especially by having a beautiful monument in their honour, it was felt that the procession should reflect this. It therefore took on the form of a Walk of Remembrance, starting from the monument at the end of Sean Mac Dermott Street and leading up to the Church. This was also part of the Matt Talbot celebrations marking the 90th anniversary of his death.
In spite of the inclement weather, a large crowd gathered at the monument, consisting of youth from the local clubs and agencies, and young people who participated last year in the successful musical The Witness. Some Youth from Belvedere Club held a banner reading Walking in the footsteps of Matt Talbot, and the words I am a Witness scrolled underneath.
Those assembled were given the traditional palm and a candle on which they wrote the names of their loved ones. After the opening prayers and blessings of the palms by Fr Richard Ebejer, the gathering started the Walk of Remembrance, following the banner and led by a cross held by a member of Jesus Youth. The Lord Mayor of Dublin himself, Councillor Christie Burke, was in attendance. Over the years, he has always shown his support and solidarity with the local community. In attendance also was local Councillor Maureen O’Sullivan who is very much involved in the local community as well.
On arrival at the Church, the candles were blessed and lit, and placed at the foot of a Cross. The monthly Matt Talbot Novena Mass then started. This month’s liturgy was that of Palm Sunday, presided over by Fr Kieran Mac Dermott, Diocesan Vicar for Evangelization, who also covers the youth ministry of the Diocese.
The youth of Teen Spirit enlivened the liturgy with their music, while representatives from, Foundation from a Drug Free World, the Legion of Mary and Youth 2000 read out the Passion narrative.
The event was an overall success and it highlighted the role of young people within the Church. It is remembered that Matt Talbot himself was only twenty eight years of age when he took the decision to change his life, and with prayers and direction, he was able to overcome his addiction to become a devout and exemplary worker and family member. It was a worthy way of marking World Youth Day which all dioceses are encouraged to do on Palm Sunday.
The Walk of Remembrance and the Palm Sunday liturgy brought to a conclusion a number of Lenten activities for the parish. For four consecutive Thursdays, homes and families were visited by Priests from the Salesian Community along with members of the Legion of Mary. Nearly a hundred families and households asked for their house to be blessed or have the relic of Matt Talbot brought to them.
A Matt Talbot Mission was also held for three consecutive days, given by Br Barry Butler, a renowned preacher, and Mr Davide Baribieri, a recovered heroin addict. The theme on which they spoke about was From Brokenness to Wholeness. These Mission talks were also well attended and much appreciated by those present.
Pope Francis firmly believes in a Church that reaches out: “We cannot passively and calmly wait in our Church buildings; we need to move from a pastoral ministry of mere conservation to a decidedly missionary pastoral ministry. This task continues to be a source of immense joy for the Church”. Indeed, it was a source of joy to reach out as a Parish to one and all during this Lenten season.