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Appeal for pilgrims and padres for Reek Sunday

By Sarah Mac Donald - 05 July, 2014

Microsoft Word - Reek Sunday Poster.docxThe annual pilgrimage to the summit of Croagh Patrick on Reek Sunday takes place on Sunday 27 July and priests are being sought to minister to the anticipated 25,000 pilgrims likely to make the climb.

Local administrator of Westport and Kilmeena parish, Fr Charlie McDonnell, has said he would appreciate if priests would encourage parishioners to participate in the pilgrimage.

He also appealed for priests who are available to come and assist with Mass and confessions on the summit of the holy mountain. Confessions begin at 7:30am and continue until 2pm.

The first Mass on the summit will be at 8am and every half hour thereafter until the last Mass which commences at 2pm.

The ascent and descent of Croagh Patrick is a three-hour round trip.

The Book of Armagh, a manuscript written in the 8th century, states that St Patrick fasted on the summit of the mountain for forty days and forty nights in the year 441 AD and also built a church there.

Croagh PatrickThe site quickly became an important place of Christian pilgrimage. Archaeological excavation on the summit in 1995 unearthed the foundation of a stone oratory dating to between 430 and 890 AD.

It is said that after St Patrick’s fasting for forty days, he threw a silver bell down the side of the mountain knocking the she-demon Corra from the sky into a lake, sited at the base of the mountain on the southern side known locally as Lough na Corra, ultimately banishing all the snakes from Ireland.

Archbishop Healy of Tuam and Fr Michael McDonald built an oratory on the summit of Croagh Patrick which was dedicated on the 20th July 1905, which re-established the ancient pilgrimage.

Croagh Patrick comes from the Irish Cruach Phádraig meaning ‘(St) Patrick’s stack’.

There are three pilgrimage stations on the way to the summit of Croagh Patrick, each of which has a sign with instructions for the proper rituals and prayers. The stations are as follows:

First Station (Leacht Benáin): Base of the Mountain – Walk 7 times around the mound of stones while saying 7 Our Fathers, 7 Hail Marys, 1 Creed.

Second Station: The Summit – Kneel and say 7 Our Fathers, 7 Hail Marys, 1 Creed. Pray near the chapel for the Pope’s intentions. Walk 15 times around the chapel while saying: 15 Our Fathers, 15 Hail Marys. Walk 7 times around Leaba Phádraig (Patrick’s Bed) saying 7 Our Fathers, 7 Hail Marys, 1 Creed.

Third Station: Roilig Mhuire – Walk 7 times around each mound of stones saying 7 Our Fathers, 7 Hail Marys, 1 Creed. Walk 7 times around the whole enclosure of Roilig Mhuire praying.

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