The Walk of Light making its way along the canal.
The 15th annual Walk of Light took place in Dublin on Sunday evening, the Feast of Christ the King (November 24). This year about 250 members of local Christian congregations joined the pilgrimage to explore the theme ‘walking together for our common home’ as they considered climate change and Christians’ responsibility to care for creation.
For 15 years people have taken part in the Walk of Light, which is organised by a number of local parishes in conjunction with Dublin Council of Churches, expressing their hope and prayer for light in dark times. The 2019 pilgrimage unfolded in three host churches, St Finian’s Lutheran Church on Adelaide Road, the Church of Mary Immaculate Refuge of Sinners in Rathmines, and Holy Trinity Church of Ireland, Rathmines.
The Choir of St Bartholomew’s sang the anthem ‘For the Beauty of the Earth’ in the Church of Mary Immaculate after which Jane Mellett, Laudato Si Officer with Trocaire, spoke about Laudato Si, pilgrimage and our responsibility to our planet.
Participants on the Walk of Light make their way through Rathmines.
She said that the climate and extinction crisis crossed all boundaries which is why representatives from different Christian backgrounds joined to walk together for their common home. She told of being on a pilgrimage walking across seven countries from Italy to Poland last year to bring the message of Laudato Si to the UN conference.
“This is a crisis that will ultimately effect the lifestyles of people across the world… There is something transformative about walking. When you walk you engage on a different level with nature, local people and the planet. Each pilgrimage is about transformation. Your destination isn’t a place but a new way of seeing things. We all have serious choices to make as a global community. What Christians bring is hope. We know there need to be changes and we can change together. Change will come at grass roots level and church leaders have a role to play in this. Churches need to cut down on waste and our use of plastic, teach members to value the planet and lobby politicians… We don’t need to walk 1,000 kilometres to change but we all have to make the journey of change for the climate,” she stated.
As the pilgrimage drew to a close in Holy Trinity, Rathmines, Ruth Gyves said that participants’ response to what they had heard during the evening much be change. “We have a role in caring for our planet but we also have a responsibility to look to God to hear is call in caring for his creation,” she commented. “We all have a part to play in caring for this planet but we also have a clear call to seek God as King. Our responsibility needs to be one of transformation in the care of the earth but also transformation in our care for God the creator.”
The inter church journey is organisation by the local Church of Ireland, Korean, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and Ethiopian Orthodox congregations. It takes place each year on the Feast of Christ the King.