Lough Derg is being proposed to parishioners as a “port of call” during the Year of Faith.
It’s an ancient place of prayer where the pilgrim is offered “time out for body and soul”, spiritual renewal and a deeper appreciation of the things which we normally take for granted (especially food, drink, sleep and creature comforts). Above all it is a space of spiritual nourishment and of encounter with Christ in the sacraments.
Thousands of pilgrims travel every year to St Patrick’s Purgatory at Lough Derg as they retrace the footsteps of their ancestors and teach another generation to explore some aspects of the Irish monastic tradition. Many pilgrims see this as a time of renewal of relationship with God; others see it as a robust retreat; others see it as a time of thanksgiving for favours received for themselves or their families.
All this is accomplished on this small island on what was once considered the edge of the world. During the 46 hour stay on the island, pilgrims express their vulnerability and need of God’s grace in every walking, waking and praying moment. They soak up as much nourishment as they can from the Eucharist. On vigil, they echo the psalmist’s desire for daybreak. Before welcoming “Sister Sleep” on the second night, they echo Simeon’s prayer of thanksgiving as the Vigil Candle is extinguished.
Nowhere else in Ireland do Christians express their joy and acceptance of God’s forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. They renew their Baptismal Promises enthusiastically and bask through a full day of calm and peace of mind (in spite of their struggle to keep awake!).
The most focused people in Ireland are those who rise on the third day to celebrate the Eucharist before they travel back to the mainland!
Cost of the pilgrimage: Adults: €70. Students: €65 (please contact your parish if you are travelling).
Buses are being arranged from the following areas:
Mullingar area: Carmel 044-937 4818
Tullamore area: Noeleen 057-932 1587
Navan & Drogheda: Mary 046-902 7518
pickup at Gormanston Camp 07:30
pickup at Fair Green Navan 08:15