By Sarah Mac Donald - 12 September, 2014
Our Lady’s Island in Wexford has been described by Bishop Denis Brennan as an “ever present invitation to prayer and devotion” in Ferns and Ireland.
Speaking as he received the ‘Shrine of the Year Award’ from the Directors of Worldpriest in recognition of Our Lady’s Island’s prayerful promotion of the Global Rosary Relay, Bishop Brennan said the pilgrim centre was “an indispensable and treasured part of our diocesan heritage.”
Recalling the international rosary relay in June, the Bishop said that in praying the rosary in solidarity with 60 other shrines, Ferns united itself with “a multiplicity of Catholic peoples throughout the world who are united in their devotion to Mary, their commitment to Christian living and their deep love of the ministerial priesthood.”
He continued, “Our own hope would be that this event will help us in our efforts to promote vocations today; to preach the Gospel afresh to this generation and to take stock of the blessings we already enjoy as we witness to Christ in the marketplaces of modern life.”
Marion Mulhall, founder Worldpriest, paid tribute to the way Our Lady’s Island promoted the Rosary Relay by all means possible via Facebook, Twitter, radio, TV, newspapers, parish websites/newsletters, and social networking sites.
Speaking at the presentation of the ‘Shrine of the Year’ award on Monday (8 September 2014), Ms Mulhall said the Ferns pilgrimage centre had promoted and participated in the Global Rosary Relay in “an outstanding unprecedented way”.
She presented the award to Bishop Brennan and to Fr Nolan and the committee of Our Lady’s Island and announced that the next Global Rosary Relay for Priests will take place on 12 June 2015.
The WorldPriest apostolate was founded on 15 January 1994 when Marion Mulhall received a call of vocation to promote the priesthood.
“This vocation has changed my life forever,” she said and added that “the only response I can give is to be faithful to this vocation every single day of my life.”
“We utilise the communications media with its many facets to promote the dignity, beauty and gift of the Priesthood of Jesus Christ worldwide 24\7,” she explained.
Explaining the inspiration for the Global Rosary Relay, she said, “Five years ago, an inspiration came to me in a moment of quiet reflection which was 20 Countries 20 Mysteries.”
“This inspiration was the beginning of the first ever Global Rosary Relay for Priests which has now, in its fifth year, become one of the largest annual days of prayer for priests in the entire world.”
“We were so blessed this year to receive the Apostolic Blessing from Pope Francis. He spiritually joined with a world at prayer as 86 shrines in 46 countries participated in the Global Rosary Relay.”
She recalled that it was “the great Irish priest, Fr Patrick Peyton, who stood at Our Lady’s Island many years ago and prayed the rosary with the Irish people.”
“Fr Peyton never tired of saying that ‘the family that prays together stays together’. We today are this one family of priests and laity alike who have united as one in prayer.”