The Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin includes Ratheniska, Co. Laois, where the three-day Ploughing Championships will begin on Tuesday 20 September.

In previous years, the diocese organised competitions to find Ireland’s favourite poem and the most popular prayer. In 2019, when 300,000 spectators attended the last pre-Covid championships, the Hail Mary was voted the most loved prayer.

Now the diocese wants to discover which hymn Irish people love best. Participants in the quest have thousands of hymns to choose from – time-honoured ones learned at school and from their parents, or more contemporary compositions. Anyone who wishes to register their preference can do so by submitting their choice to [email protected]

Speaking about the search for Ireland’s favourite hymn, Bishop Nulty said, “I always enjoy the Ploughing. It is important for the Church to have a presence at this unique event and our diocese always has a busy stand whenever it is held in our locality.  As someone who enjoys and appreciates singing in church, I am really looking forward to finding out what hymns people most like. I have my own favourites. As well as hymns many of us grew up with, there have been plenty of new hymns introduced in recent decades and it will be exciting to discover which one people like best.”

The hymns in receipt of the most nominations will be sung by leading performers at the Kildare and Leighlin stand (Block 2, Row 18, Stand 291) at the Ploughing each day at lunchtime.

‘Ireland’s Favourite Hymn’ is one of several initiatives being taken by the diocese at the Ratheniska event. The theme of the Kildare and Leighlin stand is ‘Ploughing a Prayerful Path’, echoing the recent Synodal discussions throughout the world to advise Pope Francis on a way forward for the Catholic Church. Visitors to the stand will be invited to help create a woollen mural depicting the logo of the synod. Callers will also be given a wristband featuring the colours of Ukraine.

The diocesan stand will highlight some ancient ritual customs such as the making of Saint Brigid’s crosses and the distribution of blessed salt for dispersal on gardens and farmland. The stand will have a Prayer Wall for petitions, as well as a quiet space for private prayer in the midst of the hectic Ploughing Championships.

For more see www.kandle.ie.

ENDS