The organisers of the 50th International Eucharistic Congress to be held very shortly here in Dublin have asked that a 'Pilgrim Walk' or 'Camino' be included as part of the Congress activities. Years ago in Dublin there was a tradition of 'Doing the Seven Churches' Simply put, people would visit seven city churches to pray for a special intention. The congress organisers felt that this would be a good idea to resurrect this old practice.
During the week before the congress takes place, and during the week of the congress, pilgrims will be invited to visit the seven designated churches and to pray the congress prayer in each church.
Each pilgrim will be issued with a specially designed 'Pilgrim Passport' and each church has its own unique stamp in which to stamp the passports. The pilgrims will recieve a certificate on their completion of the pilgrimage.
Each church will be open from 8.00 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. (08.00 hrs to 20.00 hrs) beginning on June 2nd and continuing until June 17th, the last day of the congress. Each church will be staffed by Volunteer 'Pilgrim Ambassadors' who will give the pilgrims some information about the history of the church they are visiting and stamp their pilgrim passports. This is a little like the practice during the Camino of Santiago Di Compostella. The pilgrims don't have to visit all the churches in the one day but can visit them over a few days. Importantly though, they must finish their pilgrimage with a visit to St. Mary's Pro-Cathedral, the Dublin Diocesan Cathedral, the last church on the route. There they will get their final stamp and also a certificate of completion. The pilgrimage route is not a long one as Dublin city centre is not very large and the weather, even in summer time will be pleasant. Hopefully it doesn't rain!
The Seven Churches;
St. Ann's Church, Dawson Street in Dublin 2. It is part of the Church of Ireland (Anglican Communion) and it is included to recognise our ecumenical relationship with our Church of Ireland sisters and brothers. One of St. Ann's many claims to fame is that Bram Stoker, Dubliner and Author of Dracula married Florence Balcombe here in December 1878.
The Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Whitefriar St, Dublin 2. A Carmelite (OCarm) Church, it is famous for containing the relics of the martyr St. Valentine. Couples from all over the world visit his shrine regularly and especially on February 14th (Valentine's Day)
The Church of St. Augustine and St. John (OSA) on St. Thomas' St, in Dublin 8. (Affectionately known to Dubliners as 'John's Lane Church) It boasts one of the tallest spires in Dublin. The celebrated Stained glass artist Harry Clarke made some of the windows in John's Lane Church.
The Church of St. James, James's Street, Dublin 8. This church is directly connected with the Camino of Santiago. It is also famous as it is located right beside the famous Guinness's Brewery.
The Church of St. Mary of the Angels on Church St (ofm.cap.) Completed in 1881, although the Capuchins have been in the area for over 400 years, the church boasts a marble altar carved by James Pearse, the father of Padraig and Willie, two of the famous patriots of 1916. One of the notable ministeries of the Capuchins in Church St is Br. Kevin's Day Centre for Homeless which provides hot food (breakfast and dinner) for over 500 people per day. Also take away groceries for up to 1000 people on Wednesdays. There is a doctor/nurse/chiropodist/ counselling and soon a dental service at the centre
The Church of St. Michan on Halston St, Dublin 7 Situated in the famous 'Market's Area of north Dublin City centre, it is the oldest Catholic Church in the north city centre (built in 1817) The stained glass windows were made in the famous Harry Clarke studios. The pastoral care of the parish has been in the care of the Capuchin Order since 1984.
St. Mary's Pro-Cathedral, Marlborough St, Dublin 1 is the Mother Church of the Archdiocese and the seat of the Archbishop of Dublin.
Each of these Churches are perhaps some of the seven oldest churches in Dublin and have a special place in the hearts of all Dubliners and people beyond. The International Eucharistic Congress begins on Sunday June 10th and concludes with the final Mass or the Statio Orbis in Croke Park stadium on Sunday, June 17th. The Pilgrims are invited to visit the seven churches from the week before (June 2nd to 17th) See www.iec2012.ie for more.