Archdiocesan pilgrimage planned in 2012 to Eucharistic Congress in Ireland.

Archbishop José Gomez, Cardinal Roger Mahony and Santa Barbara Region Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Curry will be among a group of pilgrims from Los Angeles participating in the archdiocese’s official pilgrimage to Ireland for the 50th International Eucharistic Congress next June.

Under the direction of Irish-born Father David Loftus, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes in Northridge, the June 13-22 pilgrimage begins in Dublin, the site of the Eucharistic Congress and All Hallows College Seminary, where Archbishop Gomez will preside at a June 16 Mass celebrating the contributions of Irish missionary clergy to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

“I don’t think one parish in Los Angeles hasn’t been touched by an Irish priest or sister,” said Father Loftus.

The veteran pilgrimage leader says the itinerary gives pilgrims a chance to join in the Eucharistic Congress, celebrate the legacy of Irish missionaries who contributed to the growth of the vibrant faith of the Church in Los Angeles today, and view some of Ireland’s most inspiring sites, including the internationally-recognized Marian Shrine of Our Lady of Knock. 

“It’s an historic and great opportunity to look at church in a different part of the world and join with people all over the globe gathering for one single event, the Eucharistic Congress,” said Father Loftus. 

Pilgrims will attend Congress events June 15-17, including a special Mass and Anointing of the Sick June 15 and the Closing Mass with pilgrims from all over the world at Dublin’s Croke Park Stadium June 17. 

In his written invitation to prospective pilgrims in the itinerary brochure, Archbishop Gomez said: “As Archbishop of Los Angeles, I look forward to making the pilgrimage to the Eucharistic Congress, and also to take the opportunity to honor and celebrate the magnificent contribution of Irish clergy and consecrated religious to the archdiocese.”

Father Loftus notes that the pilgrimage also allows participants to tap into Ireland’s ancient Christian experience of spirituality, with visits to monastic sites at Glendalough and Clonmacnoise as well as St. Brigit’s small oratory at Kildare. Pilgrims will also gather to pray at Ballintubber Abbey, built next to the site of an earlier church founded by St. Patrick in the 5th century. 

On June 19, pilgrims will visit Knock, where Our Lady, St. Joseph and St. John the Evangelist appeared to 15 people at the south gable of Knock Parish Church on Aug. 21, 1879. Currently, more than 1.5 million pilgrims visit the Marian Shrine at Knock every year. “A lot of people experience an amazing sense of peace at Knock,” said Father Loftus, who will celebrate Mass for the group at the gable wall.

Other highlights of the pilgrimage include visits to Ireland’s west coast, with tours of Galway, the intriguing “Burren” limestone landscape and the famous Cliffs of Moher. The last full day of the pilgrimage, June 21, participants will travel to the Rock of Cashel, once the seat of the Kings of Munster, which St. Patrick visited in 450. 

To receive additional information on the pilgrimage, contact Judy Brooks, director of the Archbishop’s Office of Special Services, 3424 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90010; (213) 637-7636; email: [email protected].

{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2011/1118/pilgrimage/{/gallery}