Gardiner St Gospel Choir Mass invited the Dublin L’Arche community to celebrate their 20th anniversary at the Mass on Sunday 2 February. Archbishop Martin was the celebrant at the inspiring and joyful occasion in the Church. PP Donal Neary SJ described it as one of the best events he was ever at in the Church: ‘something of the deep and joyful spirituality of l’Arche rubbed off on everyone, especially the joy of the front row congregation in the wheelchairs.
Many in the church had memories of spending time in l’Arche as a helper, others of hearing Jean Vanier on his visits to Ireland. ‘I remember lovely visits to l’Arche in Calcutta – an oasis of peace and love in a busy and poor city.’ Archbishop Diarmuid ended his homily – ‘As we wish the Dublin L’Arche community well for the years to come, we should also renew in our own lives a spirit of love and work to bring that love into the life of what Pope Francis constantly calls “the periphery” of our society and of our times.’
The Archbishop said that the Pope was not just referring to the geographical or economical peripheries of society, but he was speaking of the profound peripheries of alienation and hopelessness and search for meaning and purpose that exists among the men and women of our time. ‘The Church can never be just an inward-looking society, preoccupied by its own challenges. The more the Church becomes over concerned by its internal challenges the more it will actually become more inward looking, and never the out-going reflection of the challenging message of Jesus who cares.’
And according to Donal Neary, ‘This was the spirit of l’Arche that night, and we in Gardiner St are proud to be involved with them, and welcome them every Sunday to our Mass.’