Homily for Lourdes – Grotto Mass

HOMILY FOR LOURDES PILGRIMAGE  at Grotto, June 29th, Feast of Sts Peter and Paul

Words of welcome!

I welcome you all again as we continue our Pilgrimage to Our Lady’s Shrine at Lourdes in the 163rd anniversary of the Shrine.  In welcoming all, I especially welcome the many pilgrims from Killaloe diocese who are here until Sunday next on the 64th annual diocesan Summer pilgrimage, with the Autumn one to follow in October.  Fáilte Uí Cheallaigh romhaibh go dtí an áit naofa, speisialta seo, Scrín na Maighdinne Beannaithe agus Naomh Bernadette i Lourdes.

People back Home

Spiritual greetings and blessings to many at home who are with us via webcam and in prayer.  You are with us very much in communion and prayerful spirit at this most sacred of locations.  I am so conscious always of the dozens if not hundreds of people who ask our prayers when they hear we are coming here.  he puts together.

We are so delighted to be back after a break of 2 years due to Covid.

Assisted Pilgrims and Youth Leaders

Unfortunately, this year our numbers are about one quarter of what we would normally have as we are unable to have the assisted pilgrims, the youth leaders, the volunteers and the parish based choir, but as they saying goes “next year in Jerusalem…”

The essence of being on Pilgrimage

Whether this is your first time on Pilgrimage or whether you have been here many times before, you carry with you in your heart so many prayer intentions, so many cares, concerns and anxieties, joys, enthusiasms and hopes.   Along with all that we spend time with the Lord and His blessed mother in prayer, in adoration, in thanksgiving, in worship – especially in the calm, sacredness, holiness and serenity of this special location the grotto of Our Lady and Bernadette.


Pilgrimage is a huge, beautiful, interesting, adventurous and rich aspect of our faith.

Máméan – Rice College

In early May I had the delightful experience of being with the Tranistion Year Students of Rice College, Ennis as they went to the Patrician Shrine, Máméan in the Maamturk mountains.  Oilithreacht in onóir Pádraig Mór na hÉireann, sna sléibhte Mhám Tuirc.  In the chapel on the side of the hill we prayed, gave thanks to God and the wonderfully talented students sang their hearts out in thanksgiving to God.

St. Bridget – St. Flannan’s College

The following week a group of students from St. Flannan’s College went on pilgrimage to the Parish of St. Brigid in Liscannor to learn about the various traditions associated with the patron saint.

Our Lady’s Shrine – Knock

In the month of Our Lady also many pilgrims from the diocese went to the north West to honour Our Lady at the Internationsl Shrine of Our Lady in Knock.

Killone – St. John the Baptist

On Thursday evening, last on a glorious Summer evening several hundred people ventured to the ancient and beautiful location of Killone Abbey in the Parish of Clarecastle-Ballyea and we celebrated the birth of John the Baptist on that mid-Summer solstice evening.

Canon Island – Shannon Estuary

On Sunday the 10th of July, there is an invitation to take to the waterways of the Shannon Estuary from Crovaghen Pier, Kildysart in the Radharc na nOileán Pastoral Area to head for Canon Island to offer Mass there.

Croagh Patrick

On the last Sunday of July – Reek Sunday, the invitation is to follow again the footsteps of St. Patrick, Oilithreacht go Cruach Phádrag naofa.

Lough Derg – St. Patrick

On the August bank holiday weekend – the parish of Ennis and Killaloe Diocese will head to Lough Derg in Donegal and pray and fast for three days and three nights.

Scattery – St. Senan

On the 28th of August for those of an adventurous sea-faring nature you can head to Scattery Island, Inis Cathaigh, Mass will be celebrated, the legacy of St. Senan just across the bay from Kilrush in West Clare.

Inis Cealtra – St. Caimin

The following month St. Caimin will be feted on Holy Island in Inis Cealtra in the stunning location of Lough Derg.

Just a fraction of religious or sacred adventure available to you if you are so inclined.

A busy time if you are interested in being a pilgrim, on the Tóchar, the camino, the way, the paths beaten by our native saints, diocesan and national.

This week though we pray, reflect and experience the compay of each other in faith here in this Marian Shrine in Lourdes.

Pilgrimage is part and parcel of who we are, pilgrim people of God, searching for God and holiness in the transformation of what the sacred place can offer us.

Yeats on Pilgrimage

The great poet WB Yeats remarked “The history of a nation is not in parliaments and battlefields, but in what people say to each other on fair days and high days and how they farm and quarrel and go on pilgrimage”.

From Spancil Hill, to the Ploughing in Laois, from hope filled trips to Croke Park, from the secular to the sublime,  from the sacred  and well-worn pathways to Holy Places to pray – there we engage in the stuff of human interaction, seek and hopefully find meaning and blessing and encouragement to thrive and flourish.

In Killone on Monday Fr. Pat Malone the chief celebrant reflected on the phrase of John the Baptist reflecting on the desire to become more like his cousin Jesus Christ – I must decrease, He must increase

During this pilgrimage we empty ourselves of our selfishness and open ourselves up to kindness and goodness in looking out for each other and those to him we interact with while here and when we return home.

St. Peter and Paul

On this feast day of Peter and Paul, the Patron Saints of our Cathedral in Ennis, pilgrims supreme, Patron Saints of Seafarers we pray through their intercession for their zeal and sense of adventure to journey towards the goal, to what is good, what is true and what is beautiful and in doing so we would take John the Baptist’s motto to heart truly, that I would decrease and Jesus Christ increase in me.  Amen!