THERE will now be a said service of holy communion in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, on Easter Day, after the Irish government was criticised for a plan to cordon off central Dublin for the Easter Rising commemoration events (News, 19 February).
Parishioners, who had been told by the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Michael Jackson, that the Christ Church Cathedral would be closed, and the gates locked, at the request of the Garda authorities — meaning that no service could take place on the most important day in the Christian calendar — are now to be “bused” in on shuttles provided by the State, so that they can attend a said service of holy communion.
A statement from Dr Jackson and other senior clergy said that, after further consultation between government officials, An Garda Síochána (the police force), the Archdeacons of Dublin and Glendalough, the Precentor of Christ Church Cathedral, and representatives of St Patrick’s Cathedral, “we are pleased to report that Christ Church Cathedral will open for worship on Easter Day.
“The eucharist will be celebrated at a said service in the cathedral at 10 a.m. Clergy, staff, and congregation will be allowed through the outer security cordon and to park in a designated area near the cathedral. A shuttle bus will bring them from there to the cathedral, where they will gain access through the west door.
“In addition, at midday, the cathedral will use the special bilingual liturgy provided by the Liturgical Advisory Committee of the Church of Ireland on behalf of the Historical Centenaries Working Group to commemorate the 1916 Rising. During this service, as the parade is passing the cathedral, the congregation will pray for the country and its leaders, and remember those who died during the Rising.”
The cathedral will then close for a short period, and reopen its doors when the parade finishes, and the crowds disperse, allowing pilgrims and tourists to visit.
Dr Jackson said: “We in the Church of Ireland are very happy with the outcome of the negotiations with Government and An Garda Síochána to ensure that worshippers have the option to attend Christ Church Cathedral and St Patrick’s Cathedral for Easter celebrations.
“The Archbishop and senior clergy continue to feel that it is not practical to have every Church of Ireland church in the city open on Easter Day, given that the majority of the parishioners do not live in the vicinity of these churches. The expectation remains that there will be a very large volume of people to watch the parade.”