Northern Ireland news

Call for priest volunteers as Reek Pilgrimage on Croagh Patrick extended throughout July

Pilgrims walking the route to the summit of Croagh Patrick. Picture courtesy of RTÉ

THE popular Reek Sunday Pilgrimage on Croagh Patrick is to be extended this year, with the Catholic Church putting out a "call for priests" to help minister the sacraments throughout July.

The annual pilgrimage was cancelled last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, so this year has a "much-extended format" for the entire month - with three times as many priests needed.

Administrator of Westport Fr Charlie McDonnell said after "a different and a difficult year" they are "delighted to offer and extended Reek Pilgrimage" four days a week.

Until now while the pilgrimage has run from June to September, 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... (allowing) all those who wish to come to Ireland's Holy Mountain as pilgrims to do so safely and in their own time."

However, it "will require great generosity on the part of lay volunteers and priests alike" and Fr McDonnell appealed for priests from "all over the country" to become involved to make it a "truly national pilgrimage".

Fr McDonnell urged all pilgrims to plan their visit "well in advance" as only 100 people are allowed to gather until July 4 and 200 people from July 5.

Archbishop Michael Neary will celebrate Mass at 6.30pm on the eve of Reek Sunday in Saint Mary's Church, Westport.

He asked all priests who want to participate in the pilgrimage to book in as early as possible on frchaz@me.com or 0353 86 819 3884.

The Sacrament of Confession/Reconciliation will be available on the summit at 11am on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Friday (10am on Sundays) with Mass at 12pm (11am on Sundays).

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