The Prior of Lough Derg, Monsignor La Flynn, has announced that Sunday 25 September – the final one day retreat of the 2022 pilgrimage season, will be one where prayers for peace and an end to the suffering of the Ukrainian people will be central.

Monsignor La Flynn and the staff team at Lough Derg, have been encouraged by the stories of pilgrims who have visited the Island over the last months. Many were stories of extending a hand of love, solidarity, friendship and welcome to refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine into homes and communities across the island of Ireland. To honour this witness of christian service this special day of prayer will unite Lough Derg’s ‘storehouse of prayer’ with the intentions of people around the world for an end to the conflict in Ukraine.

Monsignor Flynn commented, “It would be our greatest hope that long before pilgrims return to the Sanctuary of Saint Patrick in 2023 that the horrific conflict in Ukraine will have ended, that the country will have begun the process of reconstruction, and that those displaced will have the opportunity to return to rebuild their lives. Until these aspirations become reality, we will continue to lift up our prayers. That God give wisdom and courage to those who work for peace, that their efforts be blessed, that they may bring an end to violence, and solace and stability to those who suffer.”

As part of this special day, Halyna Tesluk, Associate Professor of Old Testament At The Ukrainian Catholic University has been invited as a guest speaker. Halyna and her two sons are themselves refugees in Ireland since April.

Halyna Teslyuk is Associate Professor of Old Testament at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, Ukraine. She holds a Bachelor Diploma in Theology and Philosophy from the Lviv Theological Academy (2000); Licentiate in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute (Rome, 2004); Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from the Ukrainian Ministry of Education (2017).

Boats to the island from 9.15am

On the day, boats to Station Island will begin at 9.15am, with the programme of prayer and reflection beginning at 10.15am. The day will end with the celebration of Mass, and boats will return to the mainland at 4.30pm.

Lough Derg hopes that dioceses and parish communities across the country will encourage and enable Ukrainian refugees who have sought refuge with them to be present for this special day. A discounted rate of €25 for Ukrainian refugees is offered. Tea/Coffee on arrival and lunch are included. Own transport will need to be arranged. Advanced booking is essential: those wishing to avail of the special discounted rate are asked to telephone the Lough Derg Office to book +353(0)71 9861518; general bookings can be made via www.loughderg.org.

Halyna Teslyuk is Associate Professor of Old Testament at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, Ukraine. She holds a Bachelor Diploma in Theology and Philosophy from the Lviv Theological Academy (2000); Licentiate in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute (Rome, 2004); Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from the Ukrainian Ministry of Education (2017). Halyna and her two sons are themselves refugees, having arrived in Ireland in April of this year.

Lough Derg – Saint Patrick’s Purgatory 

Saint Patrick’s Sanctuary, 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. In 1780 Lough Derg came under the custodianship of the Diocese of Clogher.

For more than fifteen hundred years Lough Derg has been a sacred place and over the centuries it has been synonymous with the name of Saint Patrick. The first monks settled at Lough Derg in the fifth century, not long after Saint Patrick came to Ireland. It would seem to have been well established as a place of pilgrimage by the ninth century, and on a world map of 1492 the only place marked within Ireland is the penitential island named as Saint Patrick’s Purgatory. Still today, the Island can offer a meeting place where God’s healing grace is experienced in an intensity seldom encountered elsewhere, through the spiritual programmes, the companionship of fellow pilgrims and the sense of a place apart that is enhanced by the remote location of the Island.

The Lough Derg Pilgrimage Season occurs annually from May through until October and the traditional Three Day Pilgrimage season happens between 1st June and 15th August. One Day Retreats and Special Retreat Days run in the months of May, August and September, followed by Youth Retreats in September and October.

For more see www.loughderg.org.

ENDS

Pic credit: Lough Derg media office