PILGRIMS will not be returning to Lough Derg this summer, with the annual pilgrimage cancelled for a second year in a row thanks to Covid.
However, the prior of the historic holy site, Fr La Flynn, has vowed that “the voice of prayer will not be silent.”
This week the Diocese of Clogher announced the traditional pilgrimage taken by thousands every year would not be able to happen yet again this year.
A spokesman said that even with the relaxed restrictions, the current public health measures that were still in place did not go far enough to allow Station Island to reopen and for pilgrims to return safely.
Instead, the prior of Lough Derg will stay on the island and pray on behalf of the pilgrims.
Roslea native Fr La, said it was a simply a matter of timing, with the vaccine roll out continuing but caution still needed until it has been rolled out further, and said all at Lough Derg “respect the wisdom of a phased and stable relaxing of restrictions.”
Fr La stressed “Lough Derg is still here”, however, and that there are plans for prayer near, though not quite on, the holy island.
“I am very confident that, with a further easing of restrictions on outdoor gatherings in the coming weeks, Lough Derg will be able to offer the ‘Pilgrimage along the Lakeshore’ with a possibility of open-air Mass,” he said.
“Our regular pilgrims will be glad to learn that the ‘Pilgrimage from Afar’, offered in response to the pandemic last year, will be held on July 3-5. From their own home, pilgrims will be able to join with me and some members of our pastoral team to do their three day pilgrimage from where they are, with a live stream link.”
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