Archbishop Michael Neary to lead annual Croagh Patrick Pilgrimage

25 Jul 2017

  • This year’s Reek Sunday to focus on family as part of preparations to World Meeting of Families 2018

You, or a representative, are invited to attend a photocall for the annual Reek Sunday Pilgrimage which will take place this weekend on Ireland’s holy mountain, Croagh Patrick.  Details:

Where  Croagh Patrick, Co Mayo, in the Archdiocese of Tuam
When   7.00am on Reek Sunday, 30 July 2017
In attendance  Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam, Bishop Fintan Monahan, Bishop of Killaloe, and Monsignor Gearóid Dullea, Executive Secretary of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference, will be accompanied by fellow pilgrims.  The bishops will start their ascent at 7.00am on Sunday morning.

Mass times
On the evening before, Saturday (29 July) at 6.30pm, Archbishop Neary will celebrate Mass in Saint Mary’s Church, Westport, to mark the official beginning of this year’s pilgrimage.  During Reek Sunday, at the summit of Croagh Patrick, the frequency of Mass times will be different to that of previous years.  Mass will be celebrated every hour, beginning at 8.00am, with the final Mass commencing at 2.00pm.  Bishop Monahan will celebrate Mass as Gaeilge at 10.00am.  Archbishop Neary will celebrate Mass at 11.00am.  Pilgrims may also avail of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) at the summit from 7.30am to 2.00pm.  All priests wishing to celebrate the Sacraments must produce a valid Celebret.  See schedule below.

The Croagh Patrick pilgrimage has been undertaken for over 1500 years.  This Reek Sunday will have a special focus on family as part of preparations for the World Meeting of Families 2018.  WMOF2018 are inviting pilgrims to pray for families and wear a special sticker as a symbol of bringing families with them in prayer as they make their ascent to the summit.  The stickers will be distributed by WMOF2018 volunteers at Saint Patrick’s statue at the start of the ascent to the sacred mountain.

Garland Friday 28 July

10:00am ​​Mass at the summit of Croagh Patrick
7:30pm​ Mass at the base of Croagh Patrick in the car park at Murrisk Community Café
Saturday 29 July
9:00am​ Extra pre-climbing Mass at the base of Croagh Patrick, just above the statue (this Mass will take place in Lecanvey church if it is raining)
6:30pm Mass for Eve of Pilgrimage will take place in Saint Mary’s Church, South Mall, Westport and the celebrant will be Archbishop Neary
Sunday 30 July
7:30am – 2:00pm Confessions at the summit of Croagh Patrick.
8:00am First hourly Mass at the summit
8:30am​ Tóchar Phádraig commences at Ballintubber Abbey
10:00am Aifreann as Gaeilge – le Easpag Chill dá Lua Fiontán Ó Monacháin
11:00am​ Mass celebrated by Archbishop Neary
2:00pm Last hourly Mass on the Summit


Masses in local churches on Reek Sunday

8:30am Pilgrims Mass in Lecanvey church
10:00am Mass in Westport church
11:30am​ Mass in Lecanvey church
12:00pm​ Mass in Westport church

 ​                Notes to Editors

  • The homily of Archbishop Neary for Reek Sunday will be published by the Catholic Communications Office in advance and under embargo.  The Pilgrims’ Prayer Card is available in Teach Na Míosa and the Murrisk Community Café as well as in the ‘Patricks Path’ section on  Westport Parish has three resident priests: Father Charlie McDonnell and Father Patrick Burke who both live in Westport, and Father Paddy Gill who lives in Lecanvey.  There is a long-standing tradition that the Archbishop of the day is the Parish Priest of Westport, and this tradition continues in the person of Archbishop Neary.
  • A media centre will be in operation from 6.30am until 5.00pm during Reek Sunday.  It will be located on the first floor of Murrisk Community Centre and Café at the base of the mountain.  WiFi and refreshments will be available to media.  Information on the pilgrimage and homily texts will be available from the media centre.  The centre will be managed by Brenda Drumm of the Catholic Communications Office, Maynooth.
  • Croagh Patrick is a physically demanding pilgrimage.  Intending pilgrims should make themselves aware in advance of health and safety information about the mountain.  Pilgrims should also heed the instructions of stewards, the mountain rescue teams, Order of Malta, and Gardaí.  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.  See and
  • Croagh Patrick (2,510ft/765m), Ireland’s holy mountain, dominates the landscape of southwest Mayo both spiritually and physically.  The 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 and additional information on Croagh Patrick can be viewed on and on

For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444