Archbishop Neary to lead the 2016 Reek Sunday national pilgrimage on Croagh Patrick

27 Jul 2016

  • Archbishop Charles J Brown to preach this year’s Croagh Patrick homily
  • 20,000 pilgrims are expected to climb Ireland’s holy mountain on Reek Sunday

This Sunday, 31 July, Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam, will lead the 2016 national Reek Sunday pilgrimage on Ireland’s holy mountain Croagh Patrick in Co Mayo.  He will be joined this year by Archbishop Charles J Brown, Apostolic Nuncio to Ireland, who will preach this year’s Croagh Patrick homily. This year’s Reek Sunday pilgrimage takes place in the context of the Jubilee Year of Mercy.

The annual Croagh Patrick pilgrimage has been carried out uninterrupted for over 1,500 years. Croagh Patrick has over 100,000 visitors annually, with up to 20,000 making the pilgrimage each Reek Sunday in July. Everyone is welcome.

On Sunday, on the summit, the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) will be available from 7.30am until 2.00pm.  The first Mass will be celebrated at 8.00am and every half hour thereafter until the final Mass at 2.00pm. Photo opportunities for media are available at the following times:

  • Saturday 30 July

6.30pm: Archbishop Michael Neary will celebrate the Vigil Mass in Saint Mary’s Church, Westport, Co Mayo. Archbishop Charles J Brown will concelebrate and preach the homily.

  • Reek Sunday 31 July

7.00am: Archbishop Neary and Archbishop Brown will begin the pilgrimage ascent from the car park at the mountain base in Murrisk.

9.30am: Archbishop Brown will celebrate Mass on the Summit

10.00am: Father Fintan Monahan will celebrate Mass in the Irish language on the summit

10.30am: Archbishop Michael Neary will celebrate Mass on the summit.


Notes to Editors

  • A media centre will be in place for this year’s pilgrimage. It will be situated on the first floor of Murrisk Community Centre and Café. The media centre will be open from 6.30am on Sunday 31 July. WiFi will be available to media. Refreshments will also be provided to media. Information on the pilgrimage and homily texts will be available from the media centre. Information from the mountain including details from the summit, Order of Malta, Mountain Rescue and Gardaí will be fed into the media centre throughout the day. The centre will be managed by Brenda Drumm of the Catholic Communications Office, Maynooth. The centre will close at 5.00pm.
  • Croagh Patrick is a physically demanding pilgrimage.  Pilgrims who intend to make the climb are asked to follow the instructions of stewards.  While it is a custom for some to make the climb barefoot, pilgrims should come prepared for changeable weather conditions, and are advised to bring suitable warm/waterproof clothing, good footwear, walking stick/staff and water, and to be mindful of the safety of themselves and others.
  • History was made on Reek Sunday 2008 when Archbishop Neary’s celebration of Mass was broadcast from the summit by RTÉ television and on the World Wide Web.  On Reek Sunday 2005 Archbishop Neary unveiled a plaque to mark the centenary of Saint Patrick’s Oratory which is located on the summit of Croagh Patrick.
  • Croagh Patrick (2,510ft/765m), Ireland’s holy mountain, dominates the landscape of southwest Mayo both spiritually and physically.  The Croagh Patrick pilgrimage is associated with Saint Patrick who, in 441, spent forty days and nights fasting on the summit, following the example of Christ and Moses.  The name ‘Reek Sunday’ comes from Patrick’s ability to Christianise many pagan customs including the festival of Lughnasa, which previously had heralded the start of the harvest festival honouring the ancient pagan god Lugh, whose name is encompassed in the Irish word for August: Lughnasa.  This festival’s tradition became absorbed into the new Christian beliefs and locally become known as Domhnach na Cruaiche (Reek Sunday).
  • A virtual tour of the mountain, can be viewed on the website of the Archdiocese of Tuam tuamarchdiocese.organd on the website of Westport parish also contains additional information about the Holy Mountain.

For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444