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Priests in the UK hit the road in a double-decker, appropriately named, Mercy Bus

2016-03-29

Fr. Frankie Mulgrew leads the Diocese of Salford on a double-decker bus with priests onboard to reach out to people during the Year of Mercy.


FR. FRANKIE MULGREW
Diocese of Salford (UK)
 "The bus also aims to be a signpost, if people aren't sure where to find mercy, we are going out to them. It's almost like a Church on the streets, a Church on wheels.”

Since the beginning of February, the "Mercy Bus” has been touring parts of the Greater Manchester and Lancashire areas during Lent, in an attempt to reach out to non-practicing Catholics.  The bus stops in town centers, schools and homeless shelters. The group of priests onboard will be available for confession, a blessing, or a just a casual conversation. 

FR. FRANKIE MULGREW
Diocese of Salford (UK)
 "So the Mercy Bus is a double-Decker bus that parks up on town centers and shopping malls and there's priest's on board, ready and available to hear confession, to give a blessing of people just to chat and get some advice.”

Fr. Mulgrew said the initiative was inspired by the open-air Masses celebrated in the slums of Buenos Aires, Argentina, by Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio before he became Pope Francis.

CANON MICHAEL COOKE 
Vicar General, Salford (UK) 
"The great thing about the Mercy bus idea it's obviously very visible as it comes into a particular location and also its the kind of thing that people use when they want to advertise what their businesses are about. So, here we are advertising our business of proclaiming the message of mercy to the wider public.” 

As of late, the initiative is proving to be such a success that diocesan officials said they plan to keep the bus until the end of the holy year in November.

A group of  volunteers and a band of musicians also play live music outside of the bus to draw the attention of the passing crowds.

HANNAH BECKFORD 
Mercy Bus Volunteer
"The Mercy Bus! What a great symbol in a town center. Where people are passing, it's so unexpected and it's causing a lot of interest. People are coming over asking what it's about  and ultimately they are getting on the bus and receiving mercy.”

The front of the bus is decorated with the official logo of the Year of Mercy. Of course, the bus would not be complete without some images of Pope Francis giving his blessing. 


YA
Video footage provided by Diocese of Salford and Dom Hyndman
VM
-PR
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