Parishioners from all over Ireland are invited to participate in the annual Reek Sunday pilgrimage which will be led this year Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam.
The annual Reek Sunday pilgrimage takes place on the last Sunday in July on Ireland’s holy mountain Croagh Patrick in the Archdiocese of Tuam. This pilgrimage has been carried out uninterrupted for over 1500 years. Croagh Patrick has over 100,000 visitors annually with up to 20,000 making the pilgrimage on Reek Sunday weekend each year. This year’s pilgrimage events take place on the weekend of 29 and 30 July.
Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam, Bishop Fintan Monahan, Bishop of Killaloe, and Monsignor Gearóid Dullea, Executive Secretary of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, will make the climb to the summit of Croagh Patrick on Reek Sunday. They will start their ascent at 7.00am on Sunday morning.
World Meeting of Families 2018
This year’s Reek Sunday pilgrimage will have a special focus on family as part of preparations for the World Meeting of Families 2018. WMOF2018 are inviting pilgrims to pray for families and wear a special pilgrim sticker as a symbol of bringing families with them in prayer as they make their ascent to the summit. The stickers will be distributed by WMOF2018 volunteers at Saint Patrick’s statue at the start of the ascent to the sacred mountain.
On the eve of the pilgrimage on Saturday 29 July Archbishop Neary will celebrate Mass in Saint Mary’s Church, Westport at 6.30pm, to mark the official beginning of this year’s pilgrimage.
On Reek Sunday, Mass will be celebrated every hour on the summit of Croagh Patrick, beginning at 8.00am, with the final Mass commencing at 2.00pm. Bishop Monahan will celebrate Mass as Gaeilge at 10.00am. Archbishop Neary will celebrate Mass at 11.00am. Pilgrims may also avail of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) at the summit from 7.30am to 2.00pm.
Advice to Pilgrims
Croagh Patrick is a physically demanding pilgrimage. Intending pilgrims should make themselves aware in advance of health and safety information about the mountain. Pilgrims should also heed the instructions of stewards, the mountain rescue teams, Order of Malta, and Gardaí. While it is a custom for some to make the climb barefoot, pilgrims should come prepared for changeable weather conditions, and are advised to bring suitable warm/waterproof clothing, good footwear, walking stick/staff and water, and to be mindful of the safety of themselves and others. See mountaineering.ie and http://www.mayomountainrescue.ie/index.php/advice/safety-and-equipment
Croagh Patrick – Ireland’s Holy Mountain
Croagh Patrick (2,510ft/765m), Ireland’s holy mountain, dominates the landscape of southwest Mayo both spiritually and physically. The pilgrimage is associated with Saint Patrick who, in 441, spent forty days and nights fasting on the summit, following the example of Christ and Moses. The name ‘Reek Sunday’ comes from Patrick’s ability to Christianise many pagan customs including the festival of Lughnasa, which previously had heralded the start of the harvest festival honouring the ancient pagan god Lugh, whose name is encompassed in the Irish word for August: Lughnasa. This festival’s tradition became absorbed into the new Christian beliefs and locally become known as Domhnach na Cruaiche (Reek Sunday). A virtual tour and additional information on Croagh Patrick can be viewed on www.org and on www.westportparish.ie.