By Ann Marie Foley - 22 October, 2013
The Pioneers have launched a campaign encouraging people to give up drink for the month of November.
“By a long-standing Irish custom, many people choose to abstain from alcohol for the month of November and offer this act as a sacrifice for the eternal salvation of their deceased loved ones, and for the Souls in Purgatory. You can do likewise,” a spokesperson for the group said.
In recent times the Pioneers have seen increased interest in short term pledges – sometimes for Lent but also for Advent and in November.
Padraig Brady, Pioneer Association CEO, said many who enjoy alcohol in moderation also like to periodically quit.
Some people take the pledge to detox from alcohol and also to create more space to think about their drinking habits, he explained.
Others who take the short term pledge offer up their own commitment to try and help somebody close to them who may be struggling with an alcohol or drug abuse problem.
The Pioneer Total Abstinence Association is encouraging individuals to take the pledge this November, but to also promote this initiative in their parish, workplace and among family and friends.
There is an A4 poster for people to use and people can spread the word on Facebook and Twitter.
Taking the pledge involves three commitments – to abstain from alcoholic drink; to wear the Pioneer emblem; and to recite the Pioneer prayer twice daily.
These simple commitments have helped many people. Some have written to the Pioneers to share their testimonies.
In one email, the writer describes how they are trying to cultivate moderation in eating.
“I was a very moderate drinker but my real challenge is dieting as I love sweet things. However, over indulgence is what our senses are prone to unless we can turn within and embrace the spirit of sacrifice. The hunger within our hearts is what we are really trying to fill.”
Another emailer writes about how keeping to the Pledge is “liberating”.
Among emails arriving at the Pioneers’ head office are several from America. One writes about meeting Mgr Hodge, a pastor in New Jersey who is a Pioneer.
They decided to give up social drinking following a health scare but knowing Mgr Hodge and the Pioneers they also decided to offer abstinence for someone who was struggling with alcohol addiction – a family member who had been drinking to excess was able to give up.
“I tell everyone I know how this programme saved my daughter, especially people who have family members with alcohol addiction,” the writer stated .
For further details on the pledge see website at www.pioneerassociation.ie or contact 01 874 9464.