It was a cold, windy morning in mid-March when we gathered at the church in Belfast. Following mass on the Saturday morning we left for Inch Abbey where after taking in the ruins of the abbey we enjoyed a brief meal on the boots of our cars before continuing on to the stations of the cross at Saul. At this point, I parted ways with the group and made my way to nearby Paddy’s Barn to take in Ireland’s epic grand slam victory over England, which of course was made possible by Ireland’s great victory over France. The group then paid a visit to the grave of St. Patrick at Downpatrick Cathedral, before heading to Tollymore Forest for a biblically epic trek, made all the more penitential by the inclement Siberian weather. Meanwhile I was indoors by the fire, enjoying a complimentary fine beef stew. At the hostel, in an effort to not entirely forget the Lenten spirit, Fr. Ockerse gave us a short conference on the reasons for doing penance, and its benefits, and we sat down together for a very tasty dinner. After this we all sat around singing ballads and playing games. The following morning, we rose early and headed to mass in Newry. After mass, we had lunch at the nearby Five Ways Petrol Station before heading back up to Belfast to go ice-skating. After the skating, we had a bite to eat in a café in Belfast and then headed out to the mass rock outside Belfast where we said the Rosary as part of the Life and Faith movement. After the Rosary the rounders tournament that everyone had their hearts set on was once more postponed until the next outing. An invitation was extended to all to accompany the McKeowns back to their residence for tea and apple tart where we engaged in an impromptu session. At this point everyone bid farewell and parted ways. A fantastic time was had by all and on behalf of Comhaltas Chríost Rí, I would like to extend our thanks to Fr. Ockerse for his continuous support.
E-chronicle by Kevin Glennon.