The Lough Derg three day pilgrimage season for 2017 has begun and will continue until Tuesday 15 August. Pilgrims can begin their pilgrimage to the island any day up to and including 13 August. The one-day pilgrimage season will re-open on Sunday 20 August.
The three-day pilgrimage follows a 1000-year-old pattern of prayer. Over the course of the three days, pilgrims will take part in various spiritual activities, including a 24-hour vigil and the completion of nine ‘Station’ prayers at various locations on the island, along with fasting and prayer and reflection in bare feet.
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 is set in calm lake waters, offers no distraction, no artificialities or interruptions. Instead you are warmly welcomed and cared for.
Father Owen McEneaney, Prior of Lough Derg, has offered a special invitation to the island for families, ahead of the World Meeting of Families which will be held in Dublin in August 2018. He said, “You are invited to come and walk in the spiritual footsteps of your family – parents, grandparents, relations – walk the same ground where they walked and prayed, reconnect with their prayer for their family and future family. Today you are that family; come and be touched by God’s grace in Lough Derg.
“The flame of faith, hope and love lit in Ireland by St Patrick in the fifth century, continues to be rekindled year after year by generations of pilgrim families on this sacred Island. As Ireland gets ready to host the World Meeting of Families next year we invite you, family groups, the parish family or the diocesan family to come on Pilgrimage or a Retreat Day on Lough Derg in preparation for the world event next year.”
Lough Derg also plays host to a number of quiet days and special pilgrimages. These will continue for 2017 as follows:
A self-directed day in the peaceful sacred island of Lough Derg is offered on Friday 1 September
Family Retreat Day
A day dedicated to Families offering the opportunity to renew the family relationship with God. The Family Day will be hosted on Friday 18 August 2017.
Day of Friendship and Prayer
An Ecumenical day of friendship and prayer offers the occasion to gather in an ancient place of pilgrimage, and to pray in company with other Christians across the religious traditions. The Day of Friendship & Prayer will be on Wednesday 13 September 2017.
A day for those affected by suicide
This is a special day on the Island and is for anyone affected by suicide, bereaved by suicide, working in the area of suicide awareness and prevention, those working in schools, clergy working in parishes, or those in emergency medicine. The Living with Suicide Day will take place on Saturday 30 September
For more information on the three day pilgrimage season and other retreat days, please visit www.loughderg.org.