On Saturday, April 13th, a group of fifteen parishioners from Merthyr Tydfil took their faith to the streets. The event took place in St. Tydfil’s shopping centre between 11am and 1pm with the support of the priests of the parish, Canon Barry English and Fr. Christopher Hancock and the Sisters of Mercy.
People were offered a palm for Easter and invited to take a piece of Scripture, a message from God to them, which may have resonated with them at that moment. The response was overwhelming. Within one hour, all the palms had been handed out. Votive candles and prayer cards were also added as a “Gift for Easter’. As they were not allowed to light the candles in the shopping centre, people were invited to do so at home, or to put one on the grave of a loved one or in Church. The details of the four parishes of Merthyr Tydfil and the Easter Services had been printed on the back of the Scripture pieces. People were also given the opportunity to write a prayer for themselves, a family member or for a current concern or situation. Amazingly, two full boxes of prayer intentions were collected at the end of the outreach time. These boxes would not be opened but would be present at the Easter Masses when prayers would be offered for the requests.
The gathering buzzed with activity from silent prayer to hopeful discussions, with people opening up about their faith and joyful conversations with existing parishioners who had come to show a friendly face, support for and approval of the endeavour.
After exhausting their stock of four hundred votive candles, they concluded the outreach by sharing their experiences over a meal, with joy, pride and hope and with eager planning of their next event.