Pilgrims have been urged to avoid the annual Croagh Patrick climb on Reek Sunday due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Groups involved in organising the Reek Sunday pilgrimage including St Mary’s parish in Westport, the gardaí and Mayo County Council issued a joint statement asking people to stay away.
Speaking to CatholicIreland.net, administrator of Westport Parish Fr Charlie McDonnell said: “There is no pilgrimage taking place this year. In the current circumstances the infrastructure available isn’t capable of coping with large numbers.
“The chapel on the mountain top has been closed all summer and the toilets on the mountainside are not being maintained. The pilgrimage is not happening based on public advice.
“We can’t stop people from climbing an open mountain – but we would ask them to consider that this is a locality where a lot of elderly, vulnerable people are living and they need to be protected and kept safe. Large numbers of people arriving is not beneficial.”
Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary will still celebrate the annual Reek vigil Mass at St Mary’s in Westport on Saturday July 25 at 6.30pm. The Mass will be offered for the intentions of pilgrims who had wanted to make the pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick’s summit.
Prayer intentions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to Westport Parish, Co Mayo. Saturday’s Mass will be live-streamed on the parish Facebook page ‘St Marys Church Westport’, which can be accessed on www.westportparish.ie