A Catholic church in east Cork is to commemorate victims of mother and baby homes and of clerical child abuse after a protest group hung children’s shoes on the church railings.
Sunday’s ceremony during 12pm Mass in St Mary’s Parish Church, Youghal, is believed to be a first by any church.
Yesterday, the local canon, David Herlihy, said it was shameful that those “affected by the atrocities of the past are being listened to, but with no action as such”.
Representatives of Standing 4 Women had tied children’s shoes to the church railings last Sunday, using black ribbons, as part of a national statement during the Pope’s visit.
The group said they were remembering the victims of the Tuam mother and baby home and all those affected by various Church and State scandals.
The shoes had, however, been removed while the canon was in the Phoenix Park.
They were later returned to the group, who reattached them yesterday.
Canon Herlihy yesterday said that, after deep thought, he decided the shoes should be left in place “until Saturday evening before being stored carefully and brought to the altar in procession during Sunday Mass”.
The priest said the commemoration will involve “a little service of prayer for victims, survivors and those who need healing”.
He said: “I’m only one person but I felt something had to happen to help bring about healing.”
Standing 4 Women spokeswoman Kirsty Murphy said she is “in awe” of the move.