Bishop Cullinan to lead ‘Vocations Camino’ to Lough Derg to pray for vocations to the priesthood 

25 Aug 2023

As an initiative of the Year for Vocation to the Diocesan Priesthood, tomorrow Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan will lead a pilgrimage to the penitential island of Lough Derg, in the Diocese of Clogher, to pray for vocations.

Bishop Cullinan said, “I am looking forward to our Vocations Camino around Lough Derg, which holds such a unique place in the faith history and hearts of the Irish.  Up to fifty pilgrims will walk around the island where our patron Saint Patrick prayed.  We will offer prayers for an increase in vocations to the priesthood so that we will have priests in our parishes to follow in the footsteps of Christ: to baptise, to preach the love of the Gospel, to celebrate Mass, to offer the mercy of God through the sacrament of confession, to be pastoral leaders, and to teach.”

“I ask everyone to pray for the success of this hope-filled gathering, and, in that way, each of you will join us in spirit as we walk and pray,” Bishop Cullinan concluded.


Notes for editors

  • Saint Patrick’s Purgatory at Lough Derg, is near Pettigo in County Donegal.  The three-day pilgrimage season runs from 1 June until 15 August each year.  One-day pilgrimages are also held outside of this period.  Lough Derg is under the control and direction of the Diocese of Clogher.  Father Laurence (La) Flynn is the current Prior.  Further information on the island, as a place of prayer and pilgrimage, can be found on
  • Lough Derg is a place apart, a remote place where God is present in a very special way; a place of pilgrimage dedicated to Saint Patrick, with whom it has very close connections.  Since the time of Saint Patrick, millions of people have come to Lough Derg for prayer and solitude, to be renewed in spirit and life.  Stories about Lough Derg span the centuries and have inspired writers as varied as Shakespeare, Dante, Yeats, Kavanagh and Heaney.
  • The Basilica at Lough Derg, dedicated to Saint Patrick was built between 1925 and 1931 to the design of Professor William A Scott of University College Dublin.  The basilica is built on ground reclaimed from the lake and its style is Hiberno-Romanesque. Saint Patrick’s was constituted a minor basilica by Pope Pius XI in 1931.
  • As a member of the Irish Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Alphonsus Cullinan serves as chair of the Conference’s Council for Vocations.  The theme for the Year for Vocation to the Diocesan Priesthood, which is currently taking place across the island of Ireland, is, ‘Take the Risk for Christ’ (‘You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you’ John 15:16).  The Year for Vocation involves various awareness raising initiatives around the country and will conclude on Good Shepherd Sunday 2024.  For information about vocations, please contact [email protected]  All are invited to include in their prayers the following prayer to encourage vocations (source: the National Vocations Office of the Bishops’ Conference): 
  • Prayer for Vocations:

Heavenly Father, we ask you to send labourers into your harvest and to bless all who strive to listen to your voice.
Inspire, in the hearts of men and women,
vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and
consecrated life.
Bless our families with a spirit of generosity,
so that those whom you call have the courage
to give themselves to your Church in faith.
Send workers into Your great harvest
so that the Gospel is preached,
the poor are served with love,
the suffering are comforted,
and Your people are strengthened by the sacraments.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord.