We made it! Forty-seven pilgrims, including Bishop Robert J. Cunningham and yours truly, landed in Shannon, Ireland, very early this morning, Oct. 2, officially beginning our 10-day pilgrimage to the Emerald Isle.

Shepherded by our incredible guide and driver, Pierce, we drove through clinging fog to the village of Adare. Once home to the Dunraven family, Adare is a picturesque village complete with thatched-roof cottages.

Bishop Cunningham and Father Joe O’Connor celebrated Mass for the pilgrims at Holy Trinity Abbey Church. Friars of the Trinitarian order established the abbey in about 1230; the structure has been renovated and expanded over the years and continues to be an active parish.

The silence that fell over the group as we sat in prayer was so complete, I could hear the lights humming. To be surrounded by nearly 800 years of faith and history — it took my breath away. It was the perfect site to begin our pilgrimage together.

We later drove out to the Dingle Peninsula, located on Ireland’s southwest coast. The Atlantic rolls up to the peninsula’s sandy edges and green hills roll down its center. We spent some time in the town of Dingle, taking in the scenery, learning about local legend Fungie the Dolphin and appreciating God’s creation.

Tomorrow we’ll see more of Ireland’s natural beauty and celebrate Mass on a Mass rock. Be assured of our prayers.


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