Nightfever’s simple invitation reaps huge response

Nightfever is a very gentle evangelisation initiative

According to Share the Good News, the National Directory for Catechises “Evangelisation of culture requires us to find room once more for religion, appropriately, in the public square”. Young people connected to various movements and communities are now evangelising culture in this way through the international evangelisation initiative ‘Nightfever’, by going out onto the streets and squares of Irish cities to invite people into a church to light a candle.  A core group of seven young people came together to bring this initiative to Ireland and since April 2013 there have been four Nightfever missions in Dublin, two in Galway and one in Cork.

Nightfever began as a simple idea between two friends after the 2005 World Youth Day in Cologne. Today it’s an international initiative of the new evangelisation, taking place on a regular basis in 40 cities worldwide which has led many people to encounter Christ. The idea behind Nightfever is simple: open a city centre church at night, fill it with candle-light and prayerful live music, and invite passers-by inside. In Dublin Nightfever takes place bi-monthly at the Carmelite Church of St Teresa’s just off Grafton Street. For each event this beautiful church in the heart of the city opens its doors late on a Saturday evening until 11pm. The event is organised with the assistance of the Carmelite community and volunteers from various movements and communities who help out with the outreach, music and prayer. 

Nightfever begins with Mass, after which there is Eucharistic Adoration until the end of the evening. Pairs of street missionaries wearing hi-vis vests then venture out on to the streets to gently invite those passing by, young and old, to come into the church for a few minutes to light a candle in front of the altar, to listen to the beautiful live music or to relax for a moment in the peaceful atmosphere inside. They engage with the passers-by in a friendly, non-confrontational way explaining that there is a free event in the church with music and candlelight. The invitation is usually very low key and can be even just to light a candle for a particular prayer intention. The street missionaries then accompany all who accept the invitation to the altar as they light the candle, inviting them to experience the evening however they wish: in silence, in song, in prayer.

Live music

The beautiful live music which is carried outside the main entrance foyer and the candlelit lanterns alongside the aisles of the church help create a special atmosphere which welcomes people to the event. During the evening there is an opportunity for guests to go to Confession, or to talk to a priest and engage with others who are happy to share the Faith.

There is also a possibility for guests to reflect on a passage from Scripture or write a prayer and place it in the intentions box – these prayers are prayed for by the Poor Clare sisters. An intercession team also remains in the church praying for the mission while other young people are engaged in the welcome, hospitality and music ministries. Throughout the evening there is a constant flow of passers-by into the church and a leaflet is handed out as the guests leave the church listing the details of Catholic prayer groups, talks and events which are happening in the area.

Reach out

Nightfever seeks to reach out to other young people who have strayed away from the Church and try to draw them closer to the Faith again. So we invite people, who are on their way to the movies, a concert or a pub, to come into the church. Every Nightfever about 30 young people go out on the streets over the course of an evening and these volunteers are always overwhelmed by the numbers of people who accept the invitation to light a candle.  It’s always moving for them to see people of all ages and nationalities, young and old, couples and families, those of different faiths and none enter the church. Brian Davis, a regular volunteer said “It is amazing how many people who had not been in a church for a long time, come in after a little encouragement to light a candle”, while Maura Garrihy explained that “it’s such a blessing to be able to invite people into the church”.

Prayerful atmosphere

Each time the street missionaries are struck by the conversations they have with visitors and what has moved those visitors to come into the church. Visitors comment on how they have been touched by the evening, the prayerful atmosphere, the beautiful music, the stillness and openness of the evening. Some visitors have never been in a church, others have been long absent. Many ask questions about the Faith. A number return to the following Nightfever while others start coming to Mass or the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Nightfever is a very gentle evangelisation initiative inviting people to take a small step towards Christ. Each mission is clearly being guided by the Holy Spirit and prayer, and its fruits extend to all the people who witness the event on the street, even those who do not accept the invitation to enter the church.


*The next Nightfever event is on Saturday, February 1 at St Teresa’s Church, Clarendon Street, Dublin 2 beginning with Mass at 6pm which will be celebrated by the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Charles Brown. For more information see