Thursday, December 19, 2013

Nightfever street mission spreading nationwide

Partygoers wearing Christmas jumpers, Grafton Street’s last minute shoppers and people on their way home from work, were among over 700 people who accepted the invitation to pause and light a candle in St Teresa’s church, Clarendon Street during the latest Nightfever Ireland event on Saturday night.

Since the first Nightfever street evangelisation outreach in Dublin last April, the initiative has been successfully held in Galway and Cork, and is spreading to Limerick and Ennis next year. 

It works on the simple concept of opening a city church for the evening and inviting people passing by to light a candle in an atmosphere of live music and Eucharistic Adoration.

Over two dozen young volunteers in Santa hats and hi-vis vests spent three hours on the nearby streets issuing invitations and accompanying people to St Teresa’s where they could light a candle at the altar, write a prayer intention which will be prayed for by the Poor Clare nuns in Ballsbridge, and take a Scripture verse to reflect on.

Accessible 

“We are offering people an invitation to encounter Christ, in a simple, accessible way,” said Patrick Muldoon, one of the organisers. “To show people there is an alternative to the busyness of the world and the frantic preparations for Christmas, and it is a great joy for the young people involved to share their faith.”

Brian Davis, who has volunteered at previous Nightfever events said in his experience one out of every three people asked will stop and take part. 

“It is amazing how many people who had not been in a church for a long time, came in after a little encouragement to light a candle, and three or four people were just overwhelmed by the calmness and presence, and it was a profound experience for them,” he said.

Time out 

Niamh and Lorraine were on their way to their work Christmas party when they were stopped to light a candle, and told it was good to take the time out to remember their loved ones.

Jean Dalton said she enjoys hearing people’s reactions when they come out of the church. 

“They say things like it that was such a beautiful experience, the music was lovely, and they are all so grateful for being invited in to take that time out to pray.”

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