JUST days before the celebration of the saint himself, it has been announced St Patrick’s Sanctuary at Lough Derg will be reopened to pilgrims this summer.
Having been forced to close for the last two summers due to the Covid pandemic – the first time since 1828 the pilgrimage had to be suspended – the famous holy site will also be opening a new museum in time for the reopening of Station Island on May 1st for its summer pilgrimage programme.
The Pilgrim Shelter Museum at the lakeshore, on the Donegal border close to Fermanagh, was unveiled last week by Lough Derg priors both past and present, along with representatives from Donegal County Council. The aim of the museum is to provide a new point of interest for the thousands pilgrims who return to the scared island each year. Speaking last week, current prior Fr La Flynn said he was confident Lough Derg, which in normal times welcomes over 10,000 pilgrims a year, was returning with a stronger message than ever, “building on foundations that reach back as far as St Patrick.”
“In what has been a most challenging time for everyone, at Lough Derg we experienced our own challenges,” said Fr Flynn.
“We acknowledge how much our loyal pilgrims missed their annual pilgrimage on Station Island and we are delighted to announce we are re-opening the Island for the usual One Day Retreats in May, August and September and for the Three Day Pilgrimage June 1st – August 15th.
“This is a historic moment in itself, and our dedicated team at Lough Derg have been putting plans in place for pilgrims to return in a safe manner. This is the year to encourage anyone who has always thought about visiting, or who has had the Three Day Pilgrimage on their ‘bucket-list’, to come and see what it is all about.
“It is an opportunity particularly for those who feel the need to ‘switch off’, and for others it may perhaps be a chance to re-connect with God. Our boats are ready to welcome pilgrims on board, no matter where their spiritual journey has taken them.”
During the past two years of lockdowns, Lough Derg ensured is mission would continue, with the thousands taking part from around the world when the pilgrimage went online.
Lough Derg also opened a Pilgrim Path on the lakeshore when the island is closed, which is to now remain in place even post-pandemic.
Further information for booking a One Day Retreat, Three Day Pilgrimage, the Pilgrim Path lakeshore pilgrimage and group tours and visits is available from www.loughderg.org, by emailing email@example.com or by calling 00353 (0) 71 986 1518.
To read more.. Subscribe to current edition