BY Amanda Connelly | August 3 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


A journey to ‘Heaven and back’: Mercy Bus hits Scotland’s streets

The Friends of Divine Mercy Scotland are inviting people to get onboard with God’s mercy as they took the Church into the streets of Johnstone and Coatbridge this week.

The group’s Mercy Bus is touring the west of Scotland, after a successful debut last year which saw more than 200 people hop on the double decker for a bus journey of a different kind.

Frs Joe Burke, Stephen Baillie, Douglas McMillan, Sean Cunnie, Opara Chima Kingsley, and Canon Peter Newby were among the clergy taking part in the Mercy Bus initiative, as members of the local community approached the bus.

Miraculous Medals and Divine Mercy Chaplets were given out to people on the streets, with the Sacrament of Confession available on the top deck of the bus.

Fr McMillan, who is the parish priest of St Bridget’s Church, spoke of how successful the day had been in Johnstone.

“It was a good day, it went well,” he said. “There was a number of contacts made,” he added, noting that the bus was ‘fairly steady’ with the number of people who came in for Confession or for a chat.

People young and old came to engage with the Mercy Bus, including a group of young people from Johnstone High School, who had a chat with Helen Border from Friends of Divine Mercy Scotland.

Fr McMillan also said that not all of those who approached were Catholics, and added that he thinks people are ­‘enamoured’ that the Church is ‘actually going out and doing a bit of outreach to the public.’

The Mercy Bus was kindly donated to Friends of Divine Mercy Scotland by Stagecoach, who gave them the use of the bus free of charge for a week.

The bus continued to make its way around other parts of Scotland, including Cumbernauld, Greenock, and Glasgow, before returning to Paisley on Saturday.

Helen Border from Friends of Divine Mercy Scotland, who was in Coatbridge on the second leg of the bus’ tour, spoke of how the priests had been kept going and the day continued to get busier. She explained how people had been ‘very curious,’ and how they had handed out ‘lots of prayers, candles and miraculous medals.’

Ms Border also added how the Mercy Bus team fed and gave out prayers to those individuals on the peripheries of society, and spoke with the disabled who were with grandparents and carers.

“Pope Francis says people are no longer coming to Church, so we need to take the Church out to where they are,” she said, and to engage with people in their everyday lives.

She spoke of those that came aboard the Mercy Bus, some of whom had been away from the Church or were carrying burdens, and added that two women said, after speaking to one of the priests, that it ‘feels as if we’ve went to Heaven and came back.’

The provost also came to meet with those joining in the Mercy Bus while it stopped at both Greenock and Cumbernauld, and parked outside the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

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