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The Franciscans have lived and worked on the south side of Dublin’s River Liffey since 1232.  A presence of more than 780 years has seen many changes. The Friars lived among the people and they have been affected by many social, religious and political upheavals through the centuries.

W roku 1348 Czarna Śmierć przetoczyła się przez Dublin, a wśród tysięcy zmarłych było 24 franciszkanów. Podczas reformacji w 1540 roku klasztor na Francis Street, w miejscu obecnego kościoła św. Mikołaja z Myry, został skonfiskowany, a społeczność rozproszona.

Kościół Adama i Ewy

In the following century, the Friars worked secretly in the Cook Street area. At that time, they said Mass in the Adam and Eve Tavern, hence the popular name of the present day Church. Following Catholic Emancipation, the Friars were able to build a new church at Merchants Quay, and the foundation stone was laid in 1834. For over a century the main work of the Friars was in the church services offered to the people of Dublin. Merchants Quay was a popular place for confessions, Mass was readily available, a thriving Third Order developed and devotion to St. Anthony was cultivated. Until the 1960’s, Merchants Quay was one of the most popular and well-attended churches in Dublin City.

The 1960’s saw profound changes in Ireland and in the Church. People began to move out of the city centre, tenements were torn down and communities dispersed to new estates in the suburbs. Following the Second Vatican Council, the Church began to take a greater interest in matters of social justice. The Franciscans could no longer ignore the poverty and the social problems on their own doorstep and as a result, some of the Friars became involved in justice activities. The first Simon Community was set up on the Friar’s property on Winetavern Street in 1969.

The Tea Rooms

W tym samym roku Bractwo otworzyło Centrum Żywności dla Franciszka dla ubogich i bezdomnych (Herbaciarnie). Wszystko zaczęło się od dwóch braci franciszkańskich i filiżanki herbaty. Brat Salvador Kenny, krawiec, który przyrządzał klasztorne zwyczaje, brat zakrystianin Sebastian Tighe zaczął podawać herbatę i kanapki bezdomnym mężczyznom, którzy w ciągu dnia schronili się w kościele.

Narkotyki atakują Dublin

By the early 1980’s, the need for help became more diverse, as the European drugs explosion hit Ireland. “There would have been a huge increase in heroin use” recalls Co-Founder of Merchants Quay Ireland, Tony Geoghegan. “And there’d always been a kind of informal support network around the friary, a lot of drug users who were HIV positive were coming in for help because they were excluded from treatment.” So in 1989, the friars gave Father Sean Cassin two rooms at the front of the friary to set up a counselling and drop-in centre. Merchants Quay Project was born and demand was instant.

Merchants Quay Projekt

In 1991 Merchants Quay project was granted charitable status, offering care and treatment to drug users and their families – and opening the country’s first NGO needle exchange. Prior to this point, all help had been voluntary, and there was no state funding. But it was time to “formalise our response” recounts Geoghegan.

Wzrost i zmiana

By the mid-1990’s Merchants Quay service included a formal 16-week drug-free rehabilitation programme in High Park, day programmes and counselling at the converted Friday garage on Winetavern Street, and the meals service still run on Cook Street by Brother Sebastian. But Br. Sebastian was getting on in years and things were changing, remembers Brother Gabriel, who now helps provide pastoral care across MQI facilities. “It had grown so much from a cup of tea and a warm place to dry your clothes.”

Echa, bracia Filipie, "w pewnym sensie robimy to od 800 lat - nikt nigdy nie zostanie odwrócony". Nadszedł jednak czas, aby bracia odsunęli się od węglowego oblicza i przeszli do poziomu duszpasterskiego. "Widziałbym młodych ludzi czekających na śniadanie na śniadanie, wyglądających na bardzo zdesperowanych. Cała scena się zmieniła. Potrzebowali profesjonalnych ludzi. "

MQI dzisiaj

W 2001 roku, teraz bezdomnych i usług narkotykowych działających w Merchants Quay zostały zebrane w ramach jednej struktury zarządzania i stał się Merchants Quay Irlandii.

In 2012, we moved into the newly refurbished Riverbank Open Access Centre on Merchants Quay. This allowed us to bring all crisis services under one roof giving us the space to meet increasing demand, particularly for our meal service.

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