Tuesday, 18 December 2012

‘Black Santa’ for an afternoon at Saint Ann’s Church

With Fred Deane and the Revd Martin O’Connor outside Saint Ann’s Church, Dawson Street, this afternoon

Patrick Comerford

I spent the afternoon outside Saint Ann’s Church in Dawson Street as a volunteer collecting for the “Black Santa” Charity Sit-Out.

This year’s sit-out was launched at a special service in Saint Ann’s on Sunday morning.

It was biting-cold weather today, but it was heart-warming to see how people in the City Centre identified so quickly with this annual effort by the clergy and parishioners of Saint Ann’s.

The charities and funds that are earmarked to benefit from this year’s sit-out at Saint Ann’s include: the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, the Salvation Army, Trust, Barnardos, the Samaritans, the Church of Ireland Bishops’ Appeal, Protestant Aid, as well as other local charities.

The sit-out at Saint Ann’s helps the work of many local and national charities (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2012)

The sit-out at Saint Ann’s has become an annual tradition in this city centre church close to the Mansion House. Last Christmas, the sit-out raised about €30,000, and the Vicar of Saint Ann’s, the Revd David Gillespie, is hoping he can come close to matching that figure this Christmas.

This afternoon, I was part of the sit-out with Fred Deane, the Verger of Saint Ann’s, and the curate, the Revd Martin O’Connor.

It is humbling to see some passers-by, from all walks of life, put €50 or even €100 into the collection box. But it is equally humbling to see someone put in a few small coins, knowing that person has decided to forego a cup of coffee or today’s newspaper to support this worthy effort.

Later in the evening, as I walked from Saint Ann’s to Christ Church Cathedral for a reception in the cathedral crypt to honour the work of volunteers at the Mendicity Institution, the Christmas lights were aglow the full length of Grafton Street. And it was comforting to know that so many people are still committed to the Church bringing the light of Christ into places where there so much darkness this Christmas.

Christmas lights in Grafton Street, Dublin, tonight (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2012)

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