By Lydia O’Kane
Just a stones-throw from Dublin Castle is the area known as the Liberties, the oldest part of the city. Situated in this quarter is the biggest Viking site outside of Denmark, known as Wood Key. Keep walking across the bridge and over the river Liffey, you reach Dublin’s inner city. This is an area where the faith lives and breathes. It’s along these streets that the bunting and Papal flags flutter in the wind against the façade of the houses.
St Michan’s Church on Halston Street is one of Churches taking part in the World Meeting of Families Pilgrim walk. It’s a vibrant parish which combines social media and parish notice boards to spread the faith. Many here remember fondly the visit of Pope John Paul II, and groups from the Church will be heading to the nearby Phoenix Park to see Pope Francis.
Charity in action
Just down the road is the Capuchin Day Centre which has for the past 40 years been welcoming and helping the homeless and needy of Dublin. It’s all hands on deck here as the Centre prepares to greet its special guest. One man is washing the floor of the canteen, while others put out chairs and arrange tables, watched over by a statue of St Francis.
In the midst of all this is the man who has devoted his to life to the poor of Dublin, the Centre’s founder, Capuchin Friar Brother Kevin Crowley. He looks on calmly as the flurry of activity continues around him, and chats to those who make up the team here. Br Kevin is looking forward to the visit of Pope Francis, but notes that he sees it as just another day in the life of the Centre, adding that there’s no point getting stressed.
When Pope Francis comes to this area on Saturday, he will see for himself the strength of the faith that permeates here; the benevolence towards one's neighbour, and the true meaning of Christianity in action.