DUBLIN (CNS) — Traveling to Mass in Dublin’s city center on Easter will be more difficult than usual this year because of a massive security cordon surrounding the state’s commemoration of the centenary of the Easter Rising. (Read a background story on this topic.)
Such is the scale of the disruption that the Church of Ireland, part of the Anglican Communion, has decided not to hold any Easter Sunday liturgies at its two cathedrals in the city center and seven other parishes. Instead, congregations are being urged to make their way to Church of Ireland churches in the suburbs outside the 1.5-square-mile area where traffic restrictions will apply.
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No private vehicles will be allowed to travel in the area “between the two canals” and between the South Circular Road to the west and Ringsend to the east of the city.
In the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin, all Easter liturgies will proceed as normal, but Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said he is disappointed that churchgoers will face disruption. He said he will celebrate Easter Mass in St. Mary’s Church, the pro-cathedral that is literally a stone’s throw from the General Post Office where the Rising began in 1916 and where the focus of the state’s commemorations are centered.
In a recent RTE radio interview, Archbishop Martin said Easter had been celebrated without interruption at St. Mary’s for more than 200 years. He said records show that Easter 1916 was particularly busy, with many volunteers making their confession at the pro-cathedral before joining the fighting, which began the following day. When a British gunboat started shelling the post office where the rebels had barricaded themselves, fires broke out, and the pro-cathedral was the only building in the neighborhood to survive destruction.
On the southside, Carmelite Father Brian McKay, prior at Whitefriar Street Church, said the Easter schedule was not being changed.
“We have been assured by Dublin City Council that there will be extra buses and Luas (rail) services to compensate for the fact that cars won’t be allowed beyond the canals. Many or most of our people travel on public transport, so the situation should not cause us undue disruption. We will be advising our people about travel arrangements two weeks before Easter,” he said.
“Because a number of the Carmelite priests here at Whitefriar Street were involved in ministering to the wounded dying in Jacob’s factory, (a rebel stronghold), which is nearby, there will be some reference to the Rising during Masses. There is literature concerning 1916 freely available in the church. But we will not allow this matter to dominate or take over from the centrality of celebrating the passion, death and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ,” he said.