Delight churches came together for Good Friday walk in Downpatrick

SIR, — I wish to pay credit to the churches in Downpatrick. 

Each month the ministers meet together informally at the St Patrick Centre for a cup of coffee and a chat. During the year we come together on various occasions to pray and share faith, Christmas Eve in Down Cathedral, Church Unity Week in January, St Patrick’s Day and, of course, on Good Friday.

This year on Good Friday about 70 people, young and old, male and female and from all denominations, walked the short distance from the back of the Down Recorder office to the area in front of the St Patrick Centre. 

The walk lasted no more than 15 minutes and ended with prayer and accompanied by hymns suitable to the occasion. 

We carried a simple wooden cross. The police stopped the traffic for that short period so that we could walk unhindered. 

Perhaps some felt annoyed at the inconvenience, the delay in their busy schedule. Perhaps others were like the bystanders on the original Good Friday as they went about their shopping, wondering who was this criminal on his way to Calvary. 

Catholics are like all mainstream Christians — we believe in the saving power of Jesus Christ. We honour the cross on which our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ took away the sins of the world. 

We believe that Jesus has saved us by his death and resurrection which we have celebrated in our different churches in these days. 

This is what we call ‘redemption’. We also believe in what we call ‘sanctification’ which is the process by which God’s grace enables us to live godly lives in the world. The two are aspects of the one coin. 

As Catholics we can also understand the bible words of the letter of St. James which tell us: ‘faith is like that — if good works do not go with it, it is quite dead.’ (2:16).

It is not ‘either or’ either Christ or ‘good works’ — but, rather, it is ‘both-and’ – Jesus Christ saves us and enables us to do the good he wants to bring into our world. 

Or, as the Trocaire poster put it so powerfully some years ago, ‘The God who feeds the hungry gives you and me the bread with which to do it’. 

Yours etc,