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LOUGH DERG A place of pilgrimage
What is a pilgrimage? A pilgrimage is a journey to a holy place associated with Jesus, Our Lady or a saint. Perhaps it is where the person lived or worked, or where they have appeared to people. The person who goes on pilgrimage is called a pilgrim.
Why do we go on pilgrimage? People go on pilgrimage in order to grow spiritually. Many sick people go to ask God for healing or to pray for a particular intention. Others go in thanksgiving for God’s blessings in their lives. All pilgrimages should encourage us to reflect on our lives and see where we need to change so that we can become closer to God.
Places of pilgrimage in Ireland There are many places of pilgrimage in Ireland such as Knock, Lough Derg, Croagh Patrick, Glendalough & St. Brigid’s Well in Kildare.
Places of pilgrimage outside Ireland
Lough Derg is situated in Co. Donegal in the northwest of Ireland. It is near the village of Pettigo. Pilgrims must take a boat for the short journey across the lake to the island where the pilgrimage takes place.
Lough Derg is associated with St. Patrick and is sometimes called “St. Patrick’s Purgatory. ” It is thought that St. Patrick stayed on the island in a little cave to pray.
Lough Derg On Lough Derg there are two islands “Station Island” and “Saints Island”. It is to Station Island that the pilgrims are brought to. Station Island has been a centre of pilgrimage since at least the 1100 s.
3 day pilgrimage to Lough Derg There is a traditional 3 day pilgrimage which pilgrims have been doing for more than 1000 years. On arrival pilgrims must take off their shoes and socks and walk barefoot. The station prayers are said by each pilgrim silently. These are said while walking outside around the church or around the “penitential beds”.
3 day pilgrimage to Lough Derg
3 day pilgrimage to Lough Derg Pilgrims are not allowed to go to bed the first night of the pilgrimage. They stay up all night praying- this is called “an all- night vigil”. They go to bed at 10 pm on the second day of their pilgrimage. Pilgrims also fast from food for the 3 days. They are allowed one “Lough Derg meal” a day which consists of dry toast, oatcakes and black tea or coffee. People find that these sacrifices bring them closer to God and remind them of what is really important in their lives. Mass is celebrated during the pilgrimage and the Sacrament of Reconciliation is available.
3 day pilgrimage to Lough Derg Pilgrims leave the island on the third morning of their pilgrimage but must remain fasting until the 3 days are finished. The 3 day pilgrimage season runs from end of May until 15 th August every year.
Other types of pilgrimage to Lough Derg Groups of pilgrims can go or pilgrims can attend on their own. There are day retreats, school retreats and family days available. For more information see www. loughderg. org For information on the one day family day, check out: http: //www. loughderg. org/events/index/8