Wicklow People (Arklow) - - NEWS - By DEBORAH COLE­MAN

IN ex­cess of 800 peo­ple flocked to the Church of Sts Mary and Peter in Arklow in re­cent days to view the re­li­gious Icon of the Holy Fam­ily.

The icon was on dis­play over a three-day pe­riod last week and a num­ber of par­ish events were or­gan­ised in cel­e­bra­tion.

Morn­ing Mass last Tues­day was led by Span­ish priest En­rique Fer­nan­dez while an ec­u­meni­cal ser­vice was at­tended by lo­cal groups, elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives and dif­fer­ent Chris­tian churches who came to­gether in prayer and song.

Piper John Earle brought great oc­ca­sion and rev­er­ence to the wel­come and open­ing of the Icon dur­ing the ser­vice which saw a gath­er­ing of Catholic, Protes­tants, Pres­by­te­ri­ans and Methodists.

Later in the week, parish­ioners and par­ish priests from Aughrim, Castle­town, John­stown, Tem­plerainey, Round­wood, Rath­farn­ham, Old­bawn and other parishes around south Wick­low en­joyed Fr John Hayes’ ex­pla­na­tion of how the im­age of the icon can be rel­e­vant in our ev­ery­day lives.

An well-at­tended evening of med­i­ta­tion and mu­sic by Cru­in­niú was a high­light of the week.

Wed­nes­day saw a spe­cial ser­vice take place with the anoint­ing of the sick and on Thurs­day, the Icon vis­ited Shel­ton Abbey where the prison­ers and of­fi­cers were in­vited to pray.

At the end of the visit, the Icon was handed over to Kilquade and Grey­stones Pas­toral Area with a spe­cially de­signed com­mem­o­ra­tion plate with the im­age of Our Lady Star of the Sea by lo­cal pot­ter and crafts­man Tim Harden.

Through­out the week, there was plenty of mu­si­cal per­for­mances from young peo­ple, the par­ish male voice choir who sang the WMOF Hymn with trum­peter and John Bon­ner as or­gan­ist, a piper and young tra­di­tional Irish mu­si­cians.

Arklow Par­ish wishes to thank all those that sup­ported the vis­i­ta­tion of the Icon.

Ap­prox­i­mately 200 parish­ioners will at­tend clos­ing Mass of the World Meet­ing of Fam­i­lies in Phoenix Park with the Pope.

Fr Pádraig O’Cochlain, Mara­gret Drew, Rev Cather­ine Keogh, Fr Michael Murtagh, Emily Ke­iron, Rev Nigel Sher­wood and Fr David Brough with the Icon of the Holy Fam­ily at the Church of Sts Mary and Peter.

Joe Power, Aoife Casey and Win­nie Earls.

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