Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A special day...

 Meeting President Higgins at the Áras

One of the most enjoyable features of my life as a Brother is the time I spend as a mentor to young people. One of the groups with which I'm associated is SHARE - a charity, run by secondary school students, which provides accommodation and friendship to the elderly of Cork city.

Last week I was with a group of students from SHARE who visited the President of Ireland, Mr Michael D. Higgins, at Áras an Uachtaráin in Dublin. The group also included trustess and Presentation Brothers who have been associated with the charity over the years.

President Higgins welcomed us in the State reception room which is used for receiving visiting dignitaries. It is instantly recognizable from TV news footage. The President addressed us before Michael, Chairman of SHARE, replied. Sorcha, from the SHARE executive, presented the president with a replica of the SHARE crib as a reminder of the birth of Christ and the Christian message of love, service and peace.

We took a group photo with the president and he spent some time with us in the beautiful State dining room which is laid out in crisp, white, Irish linen with fresh flowers (from the Áras’ own garden) mirrored under Waterford crystal chandeliers. We were also taken on a guided tour of the House including the Ambassadors’ room, the Council of State room where new government ministers receive their seals of office under the watchful eye of former Irish Presidents whose portraits line the walls. In an unscripted moment, John, a member of our group, had the privilege of giving a recital on the beautiful House piano.

After the tour, I was left in awe of the colourful history of this residence, how it has known many different lives in the past and how it has witnessed much of the history of modern Ireland in the making. We spent time in the beautifully kept gardens capturing the moment with photos & selfies. ‘Shadow’, the Aras dog insisted on being included in the photos much to the amusement of everyone.

This is one of the many events throughout the year in our ministry with young people. The work of our Brothers today is focused on passing the faith to this new generation. If this work interests and excites you, feel free to get in touch for some more information.