Eagles Past and Present Participate in Pilgrimage to Ireland

Current CJ students and faculty, along with alumni, came together for a pilgrimage to Ireland this summer. The experience was through the group 4Mary Inc., which serves the spiritually and materially poor.

“The focus of the trip was to visit the Knock Shrine where Mary appeared in 1879,” shared CJ religion teacher Tim O’Loughlin. “In addition to the Shrine, we visited the Fr. Peyton Center, Ballintubber Abbey and Kylemore Abbey. We also completed a four hour walk that was an ancient pilgrimage walk tracing the footsteps of St. Patrick. He walked from Ballintubber Abbey to Croagh Patrick Mountain where he fasted for 40 days for the conversion of Ireland. The next day we climbed Croagh Patrick and had Mass at the top of the mountain.”

“My favorite part was the four hour hike,” shared Sara Francis ‘21. “It was painful and super hot, but fun. I grew closer to God and with people who I went on the trip with.”

CJ Spanish teacher Libby Harbaugh agreed, “My favorite experience was climbing Croagh Patrick, which is a very significant part of St. Patrick’s history of spreading the faith throughout Ireland. The physical challenge of getting up the mountain was so little compared to the significance it held in Irish history, the beauty of the view and the chance to celebrate Mass in a small chapel at the top.”

O’Loughlin shared that this was the fifth year 4Mary Inc. organized a summer youth pilgrimage.

“Each year, we go to a different Marian Apparition site,” O’Loughlin said. “Our goal is to help our pilgrims become closer to Jesus, but with the help of His mother. The pilgrimage is very much a spiritual retreat and not a sight-seeing tour. We really push the kids to stretch themselves, spiritually, and to take the next step in their faith life.  Everyone enters the pilgrimage at a different place in their faith life and everyone leaves at a different place, but everyone grows. It is always a powerful week, but the most powerful day differs for each pilgrim. It is beautiful and inspiring to say the least.”

“I have a great relationship with the people I went with but most of all I have a better relationship with God,” Francis added.

“It is an honor to be surrounded by our students as they humbly and courageously continue to say, ‘Yes!’ to the new adventures and experiences God is calling them to,” Harbaugh reflected. “I know I speak for many of our faculty and staff when I say they lead and encourage me in faith and I feel God working through them daily.”

Posted July 16, 2018