Archbishop Francis Duffy to celebrate Reek Sunday Mass as Croagh Patrick pilgrimage returns to normal

26 Jul 2022

Archbishop Francis Duffy to celebrate Reek Sunday Mass as Croagh Patrick pilgrimage returns to normal

  • This year’s Reek Sunday to focus on modern version of Saint Patrick’s wonderful Confession (Testimony)

This weekend the annual Reek Sunday and Croagh Patrick Pilgrimage will return to the traditional format for the first time since 2019.  You, or a representative, are invited to attend a photocall with Archbishop Francis Duffy, Archbishop of Tuam, who will greet pilgrims as they undertake their Croagh Patrick climb on Reek Sunday.  Details:

Where                         At the foot of Croagh Patrick beside the Murrisk Community Café in Co Mayo, Archdiocese of Tuam

When                          From 9.00am on Reek Sunday, 31 July 2022

In attendance             Archbishop Francis Duffy; Father Charlie McDonnell, PP Westport; and pilgrims as they undertake their Croagh Patrick pilgrimage


Mass times

This Saturday (30 July) at 6.30pm, Archbishop Duffy will celebrate Mass in Saint Mary’s Church, Westport, to mark the official beginning of the 2022 pilgrimage.  On Reek Sunday, at the summit of Croagh Patrick, the frequency of the celebration of Mass will be on the hour from 8.00am to 2.00pm.  The 10.00am Mass will be celebrated as Gaeilge by Bishop Fintan Monahan, Bishop of Killaloe.  While on the summit, pilgrims may also avail of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) from 7.30am to 2.00pm.  All priests wishing to celebrate the Sacraments must produce a valid Celebret.

Schedule for the 2022 Croagh Patrick Pilgrimage
Garland Friday 29 July

10:00am                      ​​The annual local Garland Friday pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick will take place today at the summit of the Reek.  The chief celebrant for this Mass will be Father Tod Nolan.

7:00pm​                        Mass will be celebrated at the base of Croagh Patrick in the car park at Murrisk Community Café.


Reek Sunday 31 July

7:30am – 2:00pm​        Confessions at the summit of Croagh Patrick.

8:00am​                        First Mass at the summit, with the celebration of each subsequent Mass on the hour until 2.00pm

10:00am                      Aifreann as Gaeilge – le Easpag Chill dá Lua Fiontán Ó Monacháin

11.00am                      Mass celebrated by Father Stephen Farragher, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Tuam

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

  • Archbishop Francis Duffy is Archbishop of Tuam

The homily of Archbishop Duffy 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  The priests currently serving Westport Parish are Father Charlie McDonnell and Father Sebastian Richard.  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 Duffy.

Media Centre

Oisín Walsh of the CCO will manage the media centre which 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.

  • Launch of  Saint Patrick’s Confession

As part of Reek Sunday 2022, a modern version of Saint Patrick’s wonderful Confession will be made available to pilgrims.  The word “Confession” has been changed to “Testimony”, which more accurately reflects what Saint Patrick meant in writing it.  Many people have never read his Testimony that are written in Latin, and of which eight copies exist today.  Included in Saint Patrick’s Testimony Pamphlet are 70 Scripture verses/passages that Patrick quoted.  When unfolded fully it becomes an A1 sized poster, with Saint Patrick’s famous prayer on the back: the Breastplate.  Copies will be made available at the Mass launching the Pilgrimage this year.  This novel poster is also an attractive tool for evangelisation and is in line with what Saint Pope John Paul II envisioned when he said that the New Evangelization needed to be “new in its ardour, methods and expression” (1983, address to the Catholic bishops of Latin America), and has also been endorsed by Archbishop Francis Duffy for this year’s pilgrimage.

As Saint Patrick is pre-Reformation, he is considered a potentially uniting figure among Christians, and this is demonstrated by the wide range of Church leaders, from all denominations, who have endorsed the Saint Patrick’s Testimony Pamphlet.

  • Preserving and restoring the Croagh Patrick mountain path for Pilgrims

Faith History

Pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick (2,510ft/765m), Ireland’s holy mountain, has been undertaken for over 1500 years.  Croagh Patrick 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 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

Safety advice for Pilgrims

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                                          

Preservation and restoration of the Croagh Patrick mountain path

In recent years the Croagh Patrick Stakeholders’ Group has been responsible for monumental work in preserving and safeguarding the mountain.  As the largest annual gathering on Ireland’s Holy Mountain, it is essential that Reek Sunday pilgrims, and indeed all pilgrims, play their part.  Croagh Patrick is an iconic feature of the Mayo landscape of significant natural, cultural and spiritual importance. While Reek Sunday – the National Pilgrimage Day – on Croagh Patrick stretches back many centuries, we are conscious of the obligation to support the conservation of the mountain for future generations.

The Church has actively engaged with other Stakeholders to undertake the Sustainable Access and Habitat Restoration project currently underway which aims to provide a robust path for access and to restore the eroded parts of the mountain.  As part of our support for the project, we have committed to minimising the impact of pilgrimage on Croagh Patrick, the drinking water that comes from the mountain streams, the local community and other users of the mountain.  In order to do this, we ask each pilgrim to comply with the following:

  • If traveling by car, please park responsibly and follow the instructions of stewards on the day.
  • Stay on the defined path on the mountain (where in place) and do not encroach on the adjoining habitat which may be in the process of restoration.
  • The mountain streams provide drinking water for the local community.  Be respectful of this while on the mountain.
  • We endorse the ‘Leave No Trace’ principle.  Please do not discard any litter on the mountain.
  • Dogs are not allowed on the mountain.  Please respect this requirement.


For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678. The email address for Westport Parish is: [email protected]