Archbishop Michael Neary to lead annual Croagh Patrick Pilgrimage

24 Jul 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, 29 July 2018
In attendance   Archbishop Michael Neary, Archbishop of Tuam; Bishop Fintan Monahan, Bishop of Killaloe and local pilgrims. Their ascent will start their ascent at 7.00am on Sunday morning. The Catholic Communications office will operate a media centre on Reek Sunday.

Mass times
On the evening before, Saturday (28 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, Mass will be celebrated every hour, beginning at 8.00am, with the final Mass commencing at 2.00pm. Bishop Monahan will celebrate Mass at 9.00am.  Father Francis Mitchell 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.  Reek Sunday 2018 will be one of the last national Church events before the start of the World Meeting of Families 2018 in Ireland on 21 – 26 August next. This global celebration of families and faith will be attended by the Holy Father Pope Francis. In this special year, pilgrims are invited to keep families and the upcoming World Meeting of Families in their prayers.

Garland Friday 27 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 28 July  
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 29 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 – An tAth Proinsias Mistéin
11:00am​ Mass celebrated by Archbishop Neary
2:00pm Last hourly Mass on the summit

Masses in local churches on Reek Sunday

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 two resident priests: Father Charlie McDonnell who lives 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 Emma Sisk 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). 

For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Emma Sisk 00353 (0) 86 145 6694 and Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678