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Pilgrimage to Lough Derg

Discussion in 'Ireland' started by Adoremus, Jun 3, 2015.

  1. I put out a request to do lough derg in reparation for Ireland to approx 2000 people over the last few weeks. So far I have received two phone calls but not to go, only looking for info. I think this is very sad. I know lots of people who go but they wouldn't do it in reparation, and many think we are doing ok, "sure the economy is recovering again...."

    For anybody interested, I will be going this coming Thursday.
    jackzokay likes this.
  2. Thanks for posting this SB, the only trouble is that the priests on the island don't promote the plenary indulgences. There is no info posted about them anywhere, and I asked one of the priests in charge if he would explain a little on it. He refused saying I was the only one to have asked him to explain. I felt he either didn't believe in them or presumed people already knew of them! Hopefully more people will ask for info. I met some people there who hadn't heard of the year of mercy or what it was.
  3. The soft kneelers are for the alter huggers and corner cutters Dolours:).

    In my own experience I have always found it best to take the hardest route possible. I always think this may be my last chance to do Lough Derg and the Lord is never outdone in generosity, so why not give it 100%! I also have knee issues and at my last meeting with my consultant he said to forgo an op just yet cos I am too young for a wheelchair.

    There is no problem in bringing a case or two bags, could even be handy because you can put one in dorm and other in cloakroom for night time clothes etc.

    The last day to go for the 3 day pilgrimage is Aug 13th.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 27, 2016
    Dolours likes this.
  4. maryrose

    maryrose Powers

    I think I am going August weekend and will do it in reparation.
    There is a bus going from my area if they can get the numbers so fingers crossed.
    Dolours and Border collie like this.
  5. Bartimaeus

    Bartimaeus Archangels

    Got home on Wednesday - a great experience again. I highly recommend it, it is like moving everything out of your soul so you can give it a good clean and then only put back in the stuff you really want.

    Re. The soft kneelers etc - i wouldn't criticise any use of what is provided. Is the hot water a drink for wusses? No some people need it to get through the 3 days.
    Is the sugar on the table for people skimming the pilgrimage? No its for those who need it.
    This was my fourth pilgrimage and i have not stayed awake "completely and continuously" on any of them. I take my hat off to anyone who has.
    One of the major lesosns i take from Lough Derg is that it is only the grace of God that will get me into heaven because everything i do is flawed and inadequate ans completley insufficient in comparison to Jesus' offering.
    There were some great sermons on the island and some very dodgy ones - given in the 'spirit of Pope Francis', for the want of a better way to put it!
  6. Back home again and recovered! This was by far the hardest LD I have done. Six willing souls joined me, sadly none from here. Started with a light drizzle as soon as we set foot on the boat, rain was in torrents by the time we reached the island and continued right through the whole day and night, and most of the following day. We were soaked to the skin by the time of the night vigil in spite of having rain gear, and as the night was very cold we felt the chill in our bones, some of us never warmed up even during the following day, and one of our little group fell on the slippy beds and bruised herself badly. As Bartimaeus said, some of the sermons were good some not. But overall it was a good but tough pilgrimage. A few times during the night vigil I questioned my reason for being there.
    I hope to go again during July if anyone would like a challenge:) but to do it in reparation for Ireland.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 5, 2016
  7. Hi guys, it's on my mind to go to Lough Derg again on thurs 28th July, perhaps somebody here will join me for the sake of our country!
    jackzokay likes this.
  8. Sam

    Sam Archangels

  9. maryrose

    maryrose Powers

    I'm going for August weekend, Saturday to Monday. I have a lot to thank God for. My grandson who was born with a severe heart defect last Feb has just been to the specialist and his heart is fine, no sign of the defect. It's a miracle, Praise God!
  10. padraig

    padraig New Member

    Wonderful, thank God. I am going away at the end of next week camping. I hope to walk along Benone Beach were some of the shots in the Game of Thrones was made.



  11. Dolours

    Dolours Powers

    Well, I finally made it to Lough Derg. Overall, I think it was good from a fasting and penance perspective but I'm not so sure about the spiritual fruits. There were times I wondered whether we were there to pay homage to Jesus or to the "Pope of Mercy".

    The night vigil was really hard going because it was wet and cold. The midges were out in force. Thank God, the shop on the island sold nets @ €4.50 for protecting your head and face because the jungle insect repellent didn't work for me. Some of my difficulties were caused by my own lack of preparation because I had dithered about going right up to the last minute, forgot to pack a couple of essentials and I was late arriving on the island.

    My best experience was the genuine concern of other pilgrims and their willingness to help and encourage the newbies and weak like me. There was a priest on pilgrimage at the same time. Watching his quiet devotion really inspired me, especially when he con-celebrated Mass in his bare feet after the gruelling all night vigil. Thank God we still have priests like him leading by example. Being completely cut off from the outside world was another plus. My worst experience was receiving the Blessed Sacrament. I won't go into details about that on a public forum.

    It was late on the second day that I found exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in the small church near the jetty. It's a bit strange when you go in there at first because the monstrance is made of carved wood that is only slightly elevated but the atmosphere is quiet and respectful.

    I intend going back to Lough Derg one more time because I didn't manage to complete all the stations on the first day and I want to do it properly. Some people had been doing the pilgrimage for many years - one man told me that it was his 33rd pilgrimage.
  12. djmoforegon

    djmoforegon Archangels

    Sounds like a wonderful experience. I don't know if we have anything like it here in the states. I saw a video about the place and it looked like my cup of tea.

    I have a question or two. Is it run by any religious order in particular? Are you obligated to any schedule? Also what are midges?
  13. Dolours

    Dolours Powers

    I think I can say with confidence that you don't have anything like it in the States. The Lough Derg pilgrimage island (or St. Patrick's Purgatory) is a small island in the middle of a lake in Co. Donegal. There is nothing (at least nothing I could see) on the island apart from the Churches and other pilgrimage related buildings. I don't think that it is run by a religious order.

    You start the pilgrimage by fasting from midnight the night before you arrive on the island and, apart from one "Lough Derg Meal" per day, you don't break the fast until midnight on the day you leave. The Lough Derg meal is oat cakes (rather like oat crackers) or dry toast bread and black tea or coffee. The good news is that you can eat as much toast or oatcakes as you like or can swallow at one sitting. You remove your shoes on arrival and don't wear them again until you leave.
    Each station consists of walking around small circles (beds) surrounding a cross while reciting prayers (Our Fathers, Hail Marys and the Creed) a set number of times. As far as I can remember, there are about 9 beds per station, and to completely the pilgrimage properly you must complete three stations before 9 p.m. on the day of arrival. The ground is stony and slippery when wet. It also entails some kneeling while reciting the prayers. The experienced pilgrims told me that it takes about an hour to complete a station, but it took me a lot longer than that. Most people finish their three stations before 6.30 p.m. Mass. They can get a couple of hours sleep before the 9.20 p.m. night prayers and Benediction that commences the all night vigil. I didn't, so didn't get to lie down.

    Throughout the first night, the equivalent of the outdoor stations is prayed inside the basilica with about an hour's break in between, which is easier because there's no fear of slipping on the stones or being pestered by the midges. The hard part of the night vigil is sleepiness and hunger. Walking around outside helps keep you awake but it was too wet and cold the night I was there. There's morning Mass at 6.30 a.m. followed by Confession.

    The second day is easier on the feet because you only have to do one outdoor station but hunger and tiredness are taking their toll by the time evening Mass comes round and it's hard to stay awake. There are scheduled prayer times throughout the day, e.g. Stations of the Cross and renewal of Batismal vows with evening Mass at 6.30 p.m. The vigil finishes with night prayers and Benediction at 9.20 and you get to bed at about 10 p.m.

    The third day starts with 6.30 a.m. Mass and one more station which you can choose to do outdoors or inside the Basilica. You leave the island at 9.45 a.m.

    While you are not obligated to stick to the schedule, you are expected to participate because pilgrimage is the only reason the island is open to the public. Nobody stands over you telling you what you must do, but everyone tries their best and everyone assured me that my best was good enough. Some folk (including me at times in the middle of the night) sat for the prayers when exhaustion and sore feet were too much to bear. Fellow pilgrims encourage but there is no compulsion and if you're the type who wants to be left alone nobody will force their company on you. Perhaps there would be a problem if you just showed up and sat around all day. The sleeping area is only open at limited times during the day.

    The Lough Derg website http://www.loughderg.org/ has a video of a priest explaining what it's about. He wrote a book about Lough Derg. He seems to be very much immersed in the "spirit" of Pope Francis. Very near the end of the video, he talks about people, Lough Derg being their only experience of organised religion, having celebrated the rituals of the Church, "being part of the Eucharist" and so on, and how it will affect them going forward. The video shows people moving around the beds which comprise the station. It must have been taken on a rare sunny day. Although it is nice looking out over the lake when the sun comes out, there are far more picturesque places in Donegal which has beautiful mountain and coastal scenery. In other words, you don't go to Lough Derg to take in the views. Donegal people have a well deserved reputation of hospitality and friendliness.

    As far as I know this is the the most common species of midge in Ireland: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highland_midge
    Apart from the discomfort, the bites do no real damage to most people but I have seen a few people (including my sister) get a bad allergic reaction to them.

    Hope that helps, and hope that I haven't put people off. Hard though it was, not a single person in my group of pilgrims regretted it and everyone I spoke to was planning to return, with a few planning to return before it closes on 15th August.
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2016
    Joe Crozier, Sam, PotatoSack and 2 others like this.
  14. Scolaire Bocht

    Scolaire Bocht Principalities

    Well done Dolours anyway and thats a great explanation! By the way its run by the Diocese of Clogher (as it has been for a thousand years or so) although the Church is actually a Basilica, meaning in a sense its under the patronage of the Pope directly.
    Joe Crozier and Dolours like this.
  15. djmoforegon

    djmoforegon Archangels

    That helps a lot. Now THAT is a pilgrimage. I can't help but believe that you received an immense amount of graces for following such a difficult schedule. I used to be able to pull all-nighters with ease but those days are long gone. But I know I could do it with a little help from my fellow retreatants.

    I like a mapped out regime and my question about schedule only reflected my love of popping off by myself for bit.

    Thank you for a mini tour of the Island. Your reply was gracious and full of information. Maybe someday I might have blessing of going on pilgrimage there myself.
    Joe Crozier and Dolours like this.
  16. maryrose

    maryrose Powers

    Just returned from Lough Derg. It was tough but very rewarding. I got wonderful graces there and am feeling much more positive about the restoration of faith. So many young men and women doing the pilgrimage was surprising.
    Joe Crozier, PotatoSack, Sam and 2 others like this.
  17. Julia

    Julia Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.

    Dolours, I fell in love with the little Chapel on the lakeside. I believe it is built like the Church Saint Francis built. It has relics of so many saints including Saint Patrick. They are kept just inside the door as you go in, before you enter the area for adoration. That little chapel has left a deep impression on me. Saint Patrick, pray for us.
    Joe Crozier likes this.

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