Climbing Croagh Patrick popular among thousands every year
The annual Reek Sunday Pilgrimage on Croagh Patrick, which was cancelled last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, will be going ahead this year albeit in a much extended format from Wednesday to Saturday, July 1-31.
The Catholic Church has issued the following advice to those making the trip to the Mayo mountain near Wesport.
Administrator of Westport Father Charlie McDonnell announced the pilgrims were welcome back to Mayo.
“It’s been a different and a difficult year, a year in which we have had to hand so much over to the Lord, to place so much in His hands. Pilgrimage has always been a strong vehicle for both petition and thanksgiving and, in 2021, above any year, we are delighted to offer and extended Reek Pilgrimage acknowledging and giving thanks for the fact that we journey very much under the protective hand of God.
“Each year, while all of the spiritual benefits of the Croagh Patrick pilgrimage have been available to pilgrims from June to September, up to now the Sacraments have only been available on Reek Sunday. This year, due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, it would be impossible to facilitate the pilgrimage on one day only so I am arranging to greatly extend provision of the Sacraments for pilgrims throughout the month of July. It is my dear hope that this unprecedented and adventurous undertaking will provide all those who wish to come to Ireland’s Holy Mountain as pilgrims to do so safely and in their own time.
“For generations, the annual Croagh Patrick Pilgrimage has held a central place in the life of the Church in Ireland and I am delighted that an extended version will be available next month. Reek Pilgrimage 2021 is an exciting and ambitious project to undertake and will require great generosity on the part of lay volunteers and priests alike. It is wonderful to be in a position to go ahead under very clear health management guidelines and I encourage all pilgrims to enter into it in a way that makes it a success for all involved.
“I am especially grateful that, as in previous years, Archbishop Michael Neary will celebrate Mass at 6.30pm on the eve of Reek Sunday, 24 July, in Saint Mary’s Church, Westport. I would like to appeal to priests from all over the country to become involved so as to make Reek 2021 a truly national pilgrimage. The extended plan this year will involve three times the number of priests than would normally be needed, so help is very much required throughout July. It is important that all priests who wish to participate in the pilgrimage book in as early as possible and they can do so on firstname.lastname@example.org.
“To be safe, I ask that pilgrims take care to plan their pilgrimage well in advance and try as best they can to choose a day that would traditionally be quieter on the mountain. Parishioners throughout the country are by now well familiar with restrictions and while this will apply in the same way it will involve numbers allowed for outdoor gatherings.”
Father McDonnell concluded: “As we have all come through so much over the last fifteen months, I anticipate that the 2021 Reek Pilgrimage on Croagh Patrick will be particularly memorable from a faith perspective. I offer this prayer of thanksgiving to God as the pilgrimage will be extended throughout the month of July: 'In His Hand are the depths of the earth, the heights of the mountains are His also’ (Psalm 95:4)”.
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