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Croagh Patrick pilgrimage extended over July

News

Multiple services planned to help alleviate large crowds


Áine Ryan

THE annual Croagh Patrick pilgrimage, known as Reek Sunday, is set to be extended over the month of July, for this year only, to adhere to pandemic restrictions. Held on the last Sunday of July for decades, Westport Parish is coordinating a series of Masses to be held around noon from Wednesdays to Saturdays during July, according to the parish’s Administrator, Fr Charlie McDonnell.
“Traditionally the pilgrimage was held from June to September with those who wished receiving ‘indulgences’ for making the climb during this period,” Fr McDonnell explained. “This year to adhere to restrictions on large gatherings we plan to celebrate Mass outside the oratory, weather permitting, around noon each Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, during the month of July,” he said.
Fr O’Donnell said that there were usually eight Masses celebrated on the summit on Reek Sunday but this year there would be 16 Masses over the month.
“We want to provide a service for locals and visitors without increasing the intensity of the footfall. This should work well over the extended period,” he added.
Meanwhile, Martin Keating, Mayo County Council’s, Head of Environment, and Chairperson of the Croagh Patrick Stakeholders Group, updated The Mayo News yesterday on the dedicated pathway project. Whilst work on the project was suspended for a time due to Covid-19 restrictions, significant progress has been made. It includes circa 225 metres of pathway in two different areas of the precipitous route.  
“There has been eight weeks of work completed to date, due to Covid restrictions with drainage work completed, which has removed most of the surface water from the pathway. Section Two is substantially completed consisting of 195 metres of path.There has also been 30 metres of stone-pitching, cross drains, revertments, landscaping and one ford. In Section Six, at the summit, a further 30 metres of path, including steps have been completed,” Mr Keating explained.  He said a more detailed report was due at the end of the month.

Did you know?
Members of the Travelling community have great faith in the power of the Croagh Patrick pilgrimage. Some believe that if they climb seven times in a  row whilst praying for a sick relative or friend, they will be cured.  
Interestingly, the former Pope, St John Paul II, once said ‘an indulgence is not a quick ticket to heaven, rather, it is an aid for the real conversion that leads to eternal happiness’.