Refugee Week

As part of our ‘Cathedral of Sanctuary’ status, we continue to look for opportunities to both welcome those in our city who have come seeking sanctuary, and also to raise awareness around the wider situation of refugees and asylum-seekers in Ireland and around the world.

Refugee Week 2021

We cannot walk alone

The theme for Refugee Week 2021 is ‘We cannot walk alone’ and we have a number of events planned, a mixture of in-person and online.

 Homing Pigeons: Birds with Wishes Exhibition

14-20 June

Good wishes arrive on the wings of fanciful works of art, created by school children in Aleppo, Syria. Organised in collaboration with Places of ARcture, with support from Ecclesiastical.

Public Opening Hours:

Wednesday, 16th – Saturday, 19th: 10.00 – 16.00 (normal cathedral admission applies)

Friday, 18th: 18.00 – 20.00, special evening opening, Free of charge!

School and community groups are invited to book in to the exhibition free of charge: Monday, 14th or Tuesday, 15th, 10.30 – 16.30. Advance booking essential. Email


‘What’s the Story? Lives in Direct Provision’

Thursday, 17 June, 19.30, Online via Zoom

We’ve taken ‘What’s the Story?’ online this year but our goal is the same: to offer a space for the sharing of stories, making space for connection across our community, by listening to the lived experiences of who have been through the direct provision system. Join this event to hear poetry and reflections around the themes of family, home and time, and a piano composition by Cherinet Ayele to compose the evening. Register via Eventbrite:

‘We cannot walk alone’ Make your mark!

Friday, 18 June and Saturday, 19 June, 11.00 – 17.00

Call in to the cathedral grounds and take part in the creation of a chalk mural (weather permitting)! Visitors are invited to add chalk footprints around our labyrinth plaza to symbolise the message ‘We cannot walk alone’.


Community Market

Friday, 18 June and Saturday, 19 June, 11.00 – 17.00

Come and check out our colourful outdoor market for the weekend. Ellie Kisyombe of Our Table will have her fantastic hot sauces for sale. Njabuliso Moyo of Busy Finger Diaries will have be selling her one of a kind handbags and clothing items. And from the workshop of local charity the Mendicity Institution there will be fabulous handcrafted wooden flower boxes and other items, a great way to support Mendicity’s work in the local community.

Sanctuary Sunday

Sunday, 20 June, 15.30

We mark World Refugee Day during our afternoon service of choral evensong with guest preacher, Pastor Ebenezer Segatu. (Congregation limited to 46 persons, due to social distancing, doors open at 15.00.)  If you can’t join in person you are welcome to join online via our webcam.

Refugee Week 2020

Undaunted by the coronavirus pandemic, we took our Refugee Week 2020 programme on line! What had been envisioned as an art exhibition in the cathedral, a collaboration with the organisations Art Nomads and Welcome Cafe Dublin, was creatively reimagined as a virtual exhibition, a walk through the cathedral to view artworks projected in the cathedral space.

Imagine: A Virtual Art Exhibition can be viewed online here.




We were glad to be able to offer the use of our kitchen as a base for the week for Our Table. Some from nearby direct provision centres called in to collect their meals, while other meals were delivered directly to centres all around Dublin. It was an opportunity to make new connections and invite some from the centres to come for a free guided tour of the cathedral after coronavirus restrictions started to ease later in the summer.



In lieu of a special Sanctuary Sunday service, we instead created a short video prayer reflection shared via our social media.



Refugee Week 2019

Film and discussion evening featuring contributions from Stixy Nyaluso (who lived in the direct provision system for a number of years), Sean Binder (formerly a search and rescue volunteer with the Lesvos-based Emergency Response Centre International) and Caoimhe Butterly (human rights campaigner and filmmaker). Following the presentations Ellie Kisyombe, from Our Table, and Angela Moyo, from Busy Fingers Diaries, displayed some of their products for sale, a inspirational demonstration of their tenacity as entrepreneurs.








Sanctuary Sunday, 23 June 2019

We were delighted to welcome the Revd Dr Inderjit Bhogal OBE, founder of the City of Sanctuary Movement, and former leader of the Corrymeela Community, as our guest preacher for our Sanctuary Sunday service. Dr Bhogal facilitated the establishment of Dublin City Interfaith Forum in 2012 which continues to flourish today in celebrating and honouring diversity, welcoming people of all cultures and ensuring there is intercultural wellbeing in Dublin city.

Archbishop Michael Jackson (centre) pictured with (from L to R) Dr Damian Jackson (Irish Council of Churches), Ellie Kisyombe, (Our Table), the Revd Dr Inderjit Bhogal, and Shepherd Machaya, (DCU University of Sanctuary Representative)

Refugee Week 2018

Prayers of Lament, Prayers of Hope

This evening of quiet and reflective prayer took place on 17 June, on the eve of Refugee Week. The evening offered space for scripture, song and reflection and those attending were invited to write down a prayer light a candle or simply offer their prayer in silent solidarity. Some of the prayers shared:

‘Father God, bring humanity to Ireland’s asylum system. Christ have mercy.’

‘Gracious Father, hold all refugees close to your heart. You are

Abba Father. Be their rock and refuge, I pray.’

‘Paz en la Tierra, paz entre los hombres, paz en un mundo justo donde reine el Amor.’

‘Safe and warm, loving home for each and every one of us on Earth. May peace be with us all.’

Human Flow, a film by Ai Weiwei

In partnership with the Irish Refugee Council we were able to host a free screening of Chinese artist and filmmaker Ai Weiwei’s visually impactful documentary Human Flow on 18 June. There was such response for the film screen that an additional evening was scheduled to accommodate the interest.

Our Table ‘Food is Culture’ launch

We were delighted to further our ongoing relationship with the asylum-seeker led group Our Table, whose aim is to highlight the need to end the direct provision system in Ireland, by facilitating change through conversation over food. Our Table were on our grounds for four days selling their delicious food creations, led by founder, asylum-seeker and Ballymaloe-trained chef Ellie Kisyombe. Our Table identified Refugee Week as an opportunity to launch their ‘Food is Culture’ campaign and to introduce all our visitors to their tasty, small batch hot sauce line. Their events also included an appearance and reading by author Melatu Uche Okorie whose book, This Hostel Life, is a reflection on her experiences in the direct provision system.