Pope Francis has conferred the honour of Chaplain to His Holiness on Reverend Laurence (La) Flynn, a priest of the Diocese of Clogher and Prior of Lough Derg, an honour which carries with it the title of Monsignor. The title Monsignor means that the priest has been made an honorary member of the Pope’s own ‘household’.
Announcing the appointment, Bishop Larry Duffy, Bishop Bishop of Clogher, said he was very pleased to receive notification from the Holy See before Christmas. He said “It is a well-merited honour for Father Flynn and recognises his own significant contribution to the life and ministry of our diocese, of which Lough Derg is an important part. This appointment also signifies a close connection between the Holy Father and the mission of Lough Derg in today’s world. That mission, continuing in the tradition that goes back to St Patrick, is to be a sacred space and a place on the margins where people can find the God of love and compassion.”
Commenting on the news, Father Flynn said, “For me, this gesture on the part of the Holy Father is an unexpected one and a humbling one. I take it as a sign of the esteem in which Lough Derg is held by the Holy See. Pope Francis has spoken repeatedly of the significance that pilgrimages continue to hold for Christian people in our times, as well as for other religious traditions and for so many of our contemporaries who do not identify themselves as ‘religious’. At Lough Derg we hold dear the memory of St Patrick who, in out-of-the-way places, found his God again when he seemed to have lost everything. I hope that all whom we welcome here will find what they seek along their pilgrimage of life.”
The island Sanctuary of Lough Derg lies about four miles north of the village of Pettigo in County Donegal. Station Island, the location of the Pilgrimage, is often referred to as Saint Patrick’s Purgatory or simply Lough Derg. In 1780 Lough Derg came under the custodianship of the Diocese of Clogher.
The Lough Derg Pilgrimage Season occurs annually from May through until October and the traditional Three Day Pilgrimage season happens between 1 June and 15 August. One-Day Retreats and Special Retreat Days run in the months of May, late August and September following by Youth Retreats in September and October.
For more on Lough Derg see www.loughderg.org.