An initiative of the Maynooth deanery saw an empty unit in Liffey Valley Shopping Centre become a buzz of sacred activity on Holy Saturday, with local priests answering Pope Francis’ call for outreach.
From noon until 5.30pm the bare retail unit was transformed with banners and displays, a prayer space, a children’s corner, an information table and a number of priests offering Confession on a rota system.
Fr Damian Farnon of Clondalkin said the project, which was in a “collaborative ministry model” with seven priests, two pastoral workers and a parish sister involved, was a great success and a positive experience, with a large queue developing for Confession at one point.
“Some people might think it is a bit of a gimmick but those people wouldn’t have been in church on a Saturday afternoon saying prayers and having a chat. It was an outreach, like Pope Francis says we have to be out there,” he said.
Fr Joe McDonald of St Matthews in Ballyfermot said he was surprised at the number of young people who availed of the opportunity for Confession. “It was a very moving experience. Many people had not been to Confession in a long time and two men broke down in tears, whatever the sense of letting go or facing something from the past, I would say it was God’s grace working in the sacrament,” he said.