When it was initially predetermined that it would be I that should author the latest Comhaltas Chríost Rí e-chronicle, I decided to prepare with anintensity contrary to that of the devoted Youth Outing organisers, so two days past the deadline, by candlelight, I began.
The weekend began by travelling for what seemed like eternity to the back end of a country road, at the back end of a county, in the back end of the country (Islandeady to you or I). Accommodational refuge was sought from the Mayo oasis that is St. Patrick’s Academy. Our first evening began by laying claim to the rooms with the least amount of rising damp. Shortly afterwards a delicious meal was provided and then for our sins choir practice began. After what can only be described as a scene from an outrageously violent horror movie, it was soon became apparent that the male voices were as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike. It was then unanimously decided that choir practice should be cut short for fear that the extreme tinnitus would cause long term hearing damage. Peace arrived in the form of our night prayers in the beautiful St. Patrick’s Academychurch, after which, the night was drawn to a close.
On the Saturday morning, Fr. Ockerse spoke on the topic of Purgatory, specifically the reason for its existence. The annual pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick commenced with 10am Holy Mass celebrated by Fr. Griego at Islandeady. From there, all pilgrims then travelled to Croagh Patrick’s base camp where after a blessing from Fr. Griego at around 12.30, we set off. The ascent and descent were free from worrying incident and the pilgrimage was a resounding success although the summit was said to be “bitterly cold” by several of the early descenders. Back at the academy that evening, a presentation was heard on the importance and the ins-and-outs of penance. As well as being presented faultlessly by the highly esteemed Joe Budds, the talk was well received by all in attendance. After another astounding evening meal, Helen deemed the Comhaltas Chroíst Rí Library, officially open. After the night prayers were said, the day turned to night.
The Sunday morning opened with 07:30am Holy Mass, again in the St. Patrick’s Academy chapel, but this time celebrated by Fr. Ockerse. In his sermon Fr. Ockerse mentioned many points also on the topic of penance, in particular self-inflicted penance versus that bestowed directly by the hand of God, of which the latter is more meritorious. After mass we all made to the Greenway cycle path. The car journey from Newport to Achill-Sound seemed wheelie daunting to many as people knew that every metre of the 31km trip would have to be cycled back. It was a vicious cycle but an enjoyable one nonetheless, everyone was tyred but happy.
It must also be mentioned that all praise and credit for the organising of such a successful trip must be conferred to the ladies of Comhaltas Chroíst Rí. Goodness knows the lads couldn’t run a bath.
We would like to sincerely thank Fr. Griego and Fr. Ockerse for supporting the Comhaltas Chríost Rí.
Colm Ó Begléighinn