MONAGHAN IN LOURDES

Fr Jerry Caroll, Carrickmacross, Air Corps chaplain in Baldonnel

Fr Jerry Caroll, Carrickmacross, Air Corps chaplain in Baldonnel

NORTHERN STANDARD Thursday 6th June 2013

With around 30,000 pilgrims in Lourdes last weekend most of them attending the 55th annual international military pilgrimage, Michael Fisher managed to find several Monaghan connections among the Defence Forces contingent that travelled from Dublin……
Among the six chaplains with the 300-strong party was Fr Jerry Carroll from Carrickmacross. He is chaplain to the Air Corps at Baldonnel in Co. Dublin.

Stations of the Cross at Lourdes

Stations of the Cross at Lourdes

He led the group in making the Stations of the Cross. During the procession Evelyn Fisher from Drumcoo Woods, Tydavnet, was asked to carry the cross at the eighth station (Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem) to the next one (Jesus falls the third time).

Naval Cadet and former member of the Reserve Defence Force in Monaghan, Aron Nutley, was among the 51st cadet class who travelled overland from Haulbowline in Cork with their chaplain Fr Des Campion to take part in the visit to the shrine of Our Lady and to the Grotto.

Naval Cadet Aron Nutley, Monaghan

Naval Cadet Aron Nutley, Monaghan

Mass for English-speaking countries including Ireland, the UK, USA and Norway was concelebrated by Bishop Richard Moth, Chaplain to the British forces along with the Defence Forces Head Chaplain Monsignor Eoin Thynne and a number of other priests. Aron from Coolshannagh is a former pupil of Beech Hill College in Monaghan. Accompanying the party from the 89th Army Cadet Class at the Curragh, the Air Corps and Navy cadets was a group of nineteen from the Civil Defence drawn from eight counties.

They included a number from Westmeath, based in Mullingar. One of them was Siobhan Courtney from Clones, a former pupil at Largy College. The Civil Defence have been accompanying the military on the pilgrimage since 1994 and for three of them, this was their 20th trip.

Siobhan Courtney & Civil Defence group from Co.Westmeath

Siobhan Courtney & Civil Defence group from Co.Westmeath

Paddy Reilly, Monaghan

Paddy Reilly, Monaghan

A number of former soldiers took part in the pilgrimage, including Paddy Reilly from Glenview Drive in Monaghan. He is a UN Veteran who served in Monaghan town and for a number of years was in charge of the local FCÁ unit (now the Reserve Defence Force). He was also active with the Civil Defence. The final Monaghan connection was through one of the Joe Walsh Tours guides, Carmel Power (McGinty). She lives in Skerries, Co. Dublin and is a former pupil of Clochar Lughaidh Muineachain, where she was a boarder for a number of years.

Former St Louis Monaghan pupil Carmel Power (McGinty), JWT travel rep in Lourdes

Former St Louis Monaghan pupil Carmel Power (McGinty), JWT travel rep in Lourdes

Groups from the Dioceses of Raphoe (Donegal) and Ossory (Kilkenny) were in Lourdes at the same time as the military pilgrimage. The Minister of State for Defence Paul Kehoe TD joined the group and read one of the lessons at the International Mass on Sunday in the underground basilica of St Pius X. He also laid a wreath at the Irish memorial at the town cemetery in Lourdes which commemorates all those Irish pilgrims who died there, including Monsignor James Horan from Knock and Cardinal O Fiaich.

Minister of State Paul Kehoe TD lays wreath at Irish memorial in Lourdes

Minister of State Paul Kehoe TD lays wreath at Irish memorial in Lourdes

LOURDES RETURN

Defence Forces members on International Military Pilgrimage to Lourdes

Defence Forces members & Minister of State Paul Kehoe TD on International Military Pilgrimage to Lourdes

The 300-strong Irish contingent that took part in the 55th international military pilgrimage to Lourdes returned to Dublin this afternoon, having travelled on Wednesday to the famous shrine of Our Lady in the Pyrenees in southern France. Over 25,000 military personnel and their families and friends participated in the 2013 Pilgrimage. Since 1958, the shrine has seen soldiers from all over the world come in peace to venerate Mary. The tradition of the International Military Pilgrimage (IMP) began in 1958, after what was initially a regional then national pilgrimage was made international to recognise officially the many soldiers that had been arriving. The only glitch was a baggage handling delay at Lourdes-Tarbes airport, which meant that the departure of the two Dublin flights was two hours later than expected.

Air Corps cadets & chaplain Fr Gerry Carroll

Air Corps cadets & chaplain Fr Gerry Carroll

Along the way we met groups including young helpers from Ossory (Co.Kilkenny) and Raphoe (Co.Donegal) taking part in their diocesan pilgrimages. From England, there were groups from Middlesborough (staying in our hotel), Birmingham and Plymouth dioceses (staying in the hotel next door, where the UK contingent from the Royal Navy, RAF and British Army were based). The young people were a credit to their respective groups and in the case of the Defence Forces, the cadets from the 89th class at the Curragh Training Centre along with the Navy cadets from Haulbowline and Air Corps cadets from Baldonnell represented Ireland with distinction, along with the DF pipe band, who never seemed to go to bed and a group from the Civil Defence

Parading the Colours: Ireland with UK and Hungary

Parading the Colours: Ireland (Navy) with UK (RMAS) and Hungary

LOURDES

89th Cadet Class ready to march to shrine

89th Cadet Class ready to march to shrine

Brigadier Michael Finn (right) joins parade to shrine at Lourdes

Brigadier Michael Finn (right) joins parade to shrine at Lourdes

I travelled to Lourdes to see the shrine to Our Lady for the first time. I flew from Dublin with a group from the Defence Forces to take part in the 55th international military pilgrimage. Minister of State at the Department of Defence and government Chief Whip Paul Kehoe TD (Wexford) joined the group two days later. The military pilgrims were led by Brigadier Michael Finn GOC 2nd Brigade (formerly Eastern), who was also making his first visit to the shrine in the Pyrenees.

Sgt Liam Bellew helps prepare the DF pilgrimage candle

Sgt Liam Bellew helps prepare the DF pilgrimage candle

 The tradition of the International Military Pilgrimage (IMP) to the French Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes began in 1958, after what was initially a regional pilgrimage and later national pilgrimage was made international to recognise officially the many soldiers that had been arriving.

Pipe Band prepare to lead parade to Shrine

Pipe Band prepare to lead parade to Shrine

The Irish contingent arrived on Wednesday 22nd and this year’s international pilgrimage took place from May 24th-26th. I am now updating this blog following my return. Major events during the stay in the foothills of the French Alps included a parade on Friday, adoration in the Basilica of Our Lady of the Rosary and on Sunday a Mass in the large underground Basilica of St. Pius X  followed by a closing ceremony in the afternoon, in which all the bands particpate. Many other activities took place within the individual national groups, including the Irish.

An Army Cadet & Brig. General Carl Dodd read out names on the UN Roll of Honour during Mass in Upper Basilica

An Army Cadet & General Carl Dodd read names on UN Roll of Honour at Mass in Upper Basilica