So this week we went on our semi-annual house pilgrimage! We set out on Sunday afternoon after the 11:30 Mass. We had a beautiful drive out to County Mayo and made it there around dinner time. We checked into our hostel which was situated on a working farm. We were greeted by hens and roosters and geese and ducks and the smell of livestock! It was a really nice place that has only been open for three years. The four of us and a German tourist were the only ones staying in the hostel. We ate some dinner in the hostel, did evening prayer, and then played a few matches of JENGA with our new German friend. With his limited English and our extremely limited German, communication was a struggle. But we did alright! We told him about our work in the Church and he told us about his work as a firefighter. Or maybe he was an engineer?
Anyway, the next morning we went out to Knock! We didn’t have as much sun as the day before, but it was mild and dry. We prayed together outside the chapel of the apparition and then had a little bit of time for our own wandering. We got back together for Mass in the old church at noon and then ate lunch together on a bench outside the basilica. It was a very pleasant day and there was plenty to do: including stations of the cross, the rosary, confessions, Eucharistic adoration, and lots of time and space for reflection and personal prayer. I have recently received a very happy answer to my prayers, so most of my day was spent saying “Thank you, God!” like a broken record.
At the end of our day we came back together and sat together around the statue of St. Brigid, our patroness. We had a reflection led by Molly and sang together “Be Still for the Presence of the Lord.” All of our experiences in our community this year have really bonded us together and it’s really special how comfortable we’ve become with each other: sharing very personal experiences and being able to be still and pray together. Our day at Our Lady of Knock’s Shrine was a beautiful day of personal prayer and community prayer (which was my favorite part) but it was only the beginning of our journey! You’ll hear where we went after this with Nick!