Pilgrimage: Celtic Christianity
A PILGRIMAGE TO IRELAND WITH THE REV. MARY LESSMANN
MAY 23-30, 2024
Hosted by the Rev. Mary Lessmann
The enchanted isle of Ireland has a captivating history. Ireland was never conquered as part of the Roman empire, so it was able to flourish at its own pace and in its own way – retaining its Celtic independence. When Christianity was introduced to the isle in the early fifth century, it grew organically, free from the Romanizing influence on Christianity reflected on the continent and in England. Aspects of Ireland’s pagan Celtic tradition were gathered up into the practice of Christianity, creating a unique expression of the faith not seen anywhere else in the world.
Celtic Christianity is highly incarnational, having a deep respect for God’s presence which surrounds and never leaves us. Celtic Christianity has a high regard for nature and creation. All that God has created is good. So there is an emphasis on God’s immanence. God works through us and all his creation to reveal the divine, and we can experience God’s divine presence within us. Finally, early Celtic Christianity was characterized by thriving monastic communities. Monasteries were a natural outgrowth in a society that highly valued kinship relationships. In the early Irish church, monastery abbots had more respect and power than diocesan bishops. It is with an appreciation of these aspects of Celtic Christianity that we will explore this beautiful island.
Saint Michael and All Angels is offering a pilgrimage trip to Ireland where we’ll experience the best of Celtic Christianity. We’ll begin our trip in Dublin where we’ll have the opportunity to tour Christ Church and St. Patrick’s Cathedrals, both medieval Anglican cathedrals. We’ll visit ancient Glendalough Monastery, founded by St. Kevin, and Clonmacnoise, monastic communities founded in the sixth century. Moving north, we’ll immerse ourselves in several sites significant to the life of St. Patrick, including St. Patrick’s Way and the Grave of St. Patrick at Down Cathedral. We’ll have many opportunities to worship together at these ancient and beautiful sites.
In good Celtic fashion, we’ll also immerse ourselves in God’s good nature and creation. As we’re visiting historic religious sites, we’ll build in time to enjoy the natural beauty of Ireland. We’ll have opportunities each day to get out in the glorious countryside, whether in walks or picnics. And many of the sites we’re visiting are in picturesque natural settings.
Finally, we’ll also have the opportunity for some particularly Anglican fellowship! We’ll be touring the Guinness Storehouse Brewery and visiting Sean’s Bar – the oldest bar in Ireland, established in the year 900. And, of course, we might encounter some leprechauns, shamrocks and fairies along the way!
This 7-day trip, led by The Rev. Mary Lessmann, is scheduled for Memorial Day week 2024 – May 23-30. We’ll be holding an informational meeting in the Coke Room on Sunday, April 30 at 12:15 p.m. Please make plans to join us for this meeting to find out more about the trip, have your questions answered, and learn how you can register.
Thursday, May 23 | Departure from the USA
Friday, May 24 | Dublin
Saturday, May 25 | Dublin
Sunday, May 26 | Glendalough, Dublin
Monday, May 27 | Clonmacnoise, Dublin
Tuesday, May 28 | Monasterboice, Armagh
Wednesday, May 29 | St. Patrick’s Way, Downpatrick
Thursday, May 30 | Dublin and Return Flight