Homily by Bishop Larry Duffy at the Opening Mass of the 2019 3-Day Pilgrimage Season at The Shrine of Lough Derg, Co Donegal
Friday 31st May 2019
Gospel – Luke 1:39-56
‘THe lives of faith of Mary and Elizabeth have much to say to us today about unplanned events and how they can radically change life and family. At Lough Derg we come to this place apart, this sacred place, this place of faith where we can spend time with God and with one another, prayerfully reflecting on God’s plan for us – his great love. ‘
I am deeply privileged to be invited to celebrate Mass for opening of the 2019 3-day pilgrimage season at this holy place. Welcome to you all to Lough Derg. I Pray you will be enriched and blessed
Today we celebrate the Feast of Visitation and the Gospel reading from St Luke gives us much to reflect and ponder on. It’s as though Luke opens wide a window on the room where Mary and Elizabeth meet and allows us hear. Inside, the cousins are meeting- one aged and past childbearing years, the other a virgin – and both are pregnant.
What a beauty – each recognising the presence and the hand of God in the unfolding story of their lives. Both are women of faith who have placed their trust in God and are guided by the Spirit.
We hear Elizabeth say that Mary is blessed because of her faith – Blessed is she who believed the promises made by the Lord would be fulfilled. Mary in her humility and gratitude is full of praise of God who lifts up the lowly and turns worldly values upside down ‘scatters the proud of heart’, ‘casts the mighty from their thrones’, as the great prayer “The Magnificat” reminds us.
We are told Mary spent three months with her cousin. We can only ponder and guess the chats they had about recent past events. How life had changed dramatically for them and their families. The effect on Joseph and Zachariah. We can only wonder in awe at how they prayed together.
The lives of faith of Mary and Elizabeth have much to say to us today about unplanned events and how they can radically change life and family. At Lough Derg we come to this place apart, this sacred place, this place of faith where we can spend time with God and with one another, prayerfully reflecting on God’s plan for us – his great love.
Over these next hours and days (and weeks) let us reflect on what God has done for us. “My soul glorifies the Lord and my Spirit rejoices in God my Saviour” (Lk. 1:46)
As we come on pilgrimage here, let us ask ourselves:
“What do I want to give thanks for?”
“What makes me grateful to God?”
“What about my praise of God?”
Yes, Mary and Elizabeth have much to enrich us.
Notes for Editors
- The Diocese of Clogher encompasses all of Co Monaghan, most of Fermanagh and portions of Tyrone, Donegal, Louth and Cavan. It has a Catholic population of 88,000, across 37 parishes, which are served by 57 priests and 2 deacons. There are 85 churches in the diocese. Bishop Larry Duffy is the Bishop of Clogher since 10 February 2019.
- The 3-day pilgrimage season at St Patrick’s Shrine, Lough Derg, Co Donegal runs from today until 15 August. The Shrine is under the control of the Diocese of Clogher and the Prior is Fr La Flynn. For further information on Lough Derg visit loughderg.org