2017 – Living Church Lough Derg Pilgrimage

Taking Time to Talk to God and Tell a Tale or Two Together


There’s a lot happens over the course of any 48 hours of our lives, isn’t there? Even those times in our lives that are quieter than others are still full of little (and sometimes not so little) things happening; subtle movements of life. In any 48 hours, we engage in a range of activities. Some of these will be routine activities like eating, drinking, breathing, talking to those we meet, watching TV or listening to music, reading a book or watching the news. Depending on the season of our life, 48 hours can bring not so routine activities and experiences. In 48 hours we can lose a loved one and bury them. We can marry someone. We can give birth to new life. We can gain or lose a job.

Sometimes, though, 48 hours can pass without us taking much notice of any of these things happening. We can get into a sort or hamster wheel of activity, where the doing of one thing is simply a vehicle for getting on to the next thing to do. And how much we miss by doing this!

The 5th annual Living Church Lough Derg pilgrimage took place over 48 hours – from Friday mid-morning until Sunday mid-morning 23-25 June 2017. A lot happened during that time for the 25 or so pilgrims who travelled with us. We prayed and reflected silently leading to many moments of spiritual insight. We experienced a lot of physical feelings due to the intense regime of the island of Lough Derg. We met many people from all over the world with lots of different life experiences to our own. We were united though in our faith and resolve to complete our pilgrimage.

We had a little moment of insight during our pilgrimage that we should not neglect to stop, meet together and tell the tale of what was going on for us on pilgrimage. And so, the 25 of us met together on the Saturday night (not having slept for more than 24 hours at this stage) paused and took time to simply tell our tale. We spent only half an hour together. But that time was filled with honesty. It was filled with real stories of people struggling with faith and relationship and life. It was filled with stories of awareness of real love. It was filled with experiences of forgiveness. It was filled. The time was filled. And what could have gone unsaid, perhaps more easily forgotten as a result, was said and perhaps more easily retained as a result.

What a great life lesson that we learned in the beautiful island of Lough Derg this year! Taking time to talk and tell a tale or two together is a good thing. Taking time to pause and reflect on the last 48 hours, the last week, the last day or the last few hours is never wasted time. It can turn up realisation of great things we could have missed had we not paused.

Lough Derg is one of the most ancient pilgrimage sites in the world. There is something that keeps drawing people back to its shores – with all the rigors of the pilgrimage in terms of having little food and sleep and walking barefoot. Spending 48 hours there on the Living Church Lough Derg pilgrimage is, indeed, a tough thing to do. Its rewards, however, far outweigh the effort we must put in to complete the pilgrimage.

We have already set the date for next year’s pilgrimage – 29 June- 1 July 2018. Why not consider coming along with us. It’s bound to be 48 hours well spent.