News archive 2009

Bishop Duffy welcomes first televised Mass from Lough Derg

29 July 2009

Bishop Duffy welcomes first televised Mass from Lough Derg

The first ever live broadcast of Mass from Lough Derg will be aired by RTÉ television at 11.15am this coming Sunday, 2 August 2009.  Lough Derg lies four miles north of the village of Pettigo in County Donegal, in the Diocese of Clogher.  Station Island, the location of the pilgrimage, is often referred to as St Patrick’s Purgatory.

Welcoming the televised Mass Bishop Joseph Duffy, Bishop of Clogher, said “Lough Derg is a special place of peace and personal challenge, renowned in Irish Christian tradition since the time of St Patrick.  In former times the emphasis of the Lough Derg pilgrimage was more on physical penance and hardship.  Today pilgrims see it as a grace-filled opportunity away from the stress and busyness of modern life.
“Lough Derg identifies itself with the universal mission of the Church in our divided society, while remaining very much part of our society.  The Lough Derg experience exemplifies the healing and liberating work of the Church which we all agree is very much needed at the present time.  As a pilgrimage, Lough Derg reminds us that we are all members of a community, searching for peace and reconciliation in our lives.”
“Televising Mass from Lough Derg allows viewers to share in the spirituality of this sacred place.  The hosting of this special broadcast is consistent with the World Communication Day messages of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, who has encouraged the use of new media technologies to promote the gospel.”
Bishop Duffy hopes to undertake a pastoral visit to the island in the two next weeks.
Notes to Editors
  • Bishop Duffy is Chair of the Communications Commission of the Irish Bishops’ Conference
  • The Principal Celebrant for the Mass will be Fr Peter Raftery CSSp and concelebrants will be Monsignor Richard Mohan, Prior of Lough Derg and Fr Cathal Deery.  Fr Cathal Deery will preach the homily and the music will be led by the Pilgrims Choir.
  • A special feature on Lough Derg, including a video interview with Bishop Joseph Duffy is available on:
  • Dating back to the sixth century, Lough Derg is among the oldest centres of Christian Pilgrimage in Western Europe.
  • The three-day pilgrimage attracts people of all ages and walks of life, from different cultures and social backgrounds.  Stepping outside their ordinary lives and routine, they leave behind many of the trappings of the modern world.  Pilgrims will have begun their commitment by fasting from the previous midnight; they follow a set routine of prayers and actions, hallowed by 1,500 years of practice, all the while fasting and walking barefooted.
  • Pilgrims make nine “Stations” during their time on the island.  The challenging nature of the fasting, vigil and Stations is complemented by excellent communal celebrations in the Basilica.  One of the great experiences of Lough Derg is the warm and friendly communal relations that develop among the pilgrims.  Another interesting experience is the challenge to think differently about one’s faith and to begin to develop new and fresh insights into one’s life.
Further information:
Martin Long, Director of Communications 086 172 7678
Brenda Drumm, Communications Officer 087 233 7797


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