“We invite you to ‘Walk and Pray’ along the Lough Derg Pilgrim Path,” said Fr La Flynn. “I hope that those who long to be back at Lough Derg on Station Island may at least get to come this far.”
Over the six days of Clogher’s virtual pilgrimage a dedicated website was accessed nearly 12,000 times and attracted participants from places as diverse as Australia, the USA, Kuwait and Trinidad & Tobago.
Striking the right balance between Covid-safety and welcoming pilgrims back to Lough Derg with confidence was the deciding factor, Fr La Flynn said and noted that by its very nature the pilgrimage is a tactile one.
Lough Derg Prior Fr La Flynn, has issued an invitation for pilgrims to join him and the pastoral team for virtual one day retreats during the month of May. These day retreats will enable people to become part of a praying community in “real” time.
People are invited to fast and pray to ask God to free us from this pandemic, to support those who are fighting it, and to comfort those who have been afflicted, says Bishop Donal McKeown.
Collection on papal visit of 1979 serves as a testament to the warmth, compassion and esteem Saint Pope John Paul II is held in by the Irish people, says Pamela McLaughlin, Veritas marketing manager.
“People are talking more about the blessing of this place and the help and the comfort and the compassion of God that it offers.”
The film follows the story of several pilgrims arriving on Lough Derg and reflects on how the pilgrimage still manages to reach out to those seeking time out from the stresses and pressures of contemporary living.
Fr Laurence (La) Flynn intends to seek the way for Lough Derg to move ahead ‘in a missionary key’, reaching out from a place that is geographically ‘on the margins’ to offer a welcome to those who feel themselves to be ‘on the margins’.
“Suicide touches everybody regardless of whether you have faith or not. It is no respecter of age, gender, background, class or religious denomination,” said Fr Deery.
“The notion of embracing the challenges of Lough Derg would appear to be nonsense. But it is glorious nonsense – it is the most wonderful witness to the most profound spiritual values.”
Alan O’Mara, author of ‘The Best is Yet to Come: A Memoir about Football & Finding a Way through the Dark’, will speak about his own mental health experiences.
“I hope we can rediscover something of our great Celtic tradition of walking, with eyes and ears open for the God who is never far from us, greeting strangers, being welcomed by parish communities.”
Bishop Denis Brennan of Ferns issues pastoral letter for Year of Mercy which will be distributed in parishes across the diocese this coming weekend.