The Annual Matt Talbot/Pioneer Pilgrimage took place to the shrine of Our Lady, Cnoc Mhuire on Sunday 17th July 2005, commemorating the 80th anniversary of his death. There was a good attendance from around the country - North/South/East/West. Fr. Bernard McGuckian, SJ (Central Spiritual Director of the PTAA) preached an informative and edifying sermon (to be featured in the September issue of the Pioneer Magazine)on the Venerable Mathew Talbot, whose cause for beatification is well advanced. All we required was a first-class miracle. Fr. McGuckian was flanked in the sanctuary of the Basilica by Fr. Micheal Mannion, C.C. (Spiritual Director of Westport PTAA) and by Fr. Micheal Mac Greil, SJ, (Chairperson of the Board of the Pioneers).
The Walkinstown Youth Choir from Dublin, under the direction of Mr. Jimmy Banks, rendered appropriate music, while President Sean Coll and Mrs. Noreen Brady (Chairperson of the Spirituality Committee) read the scriptural readings for the Mass. The weather was most pleasant and the Rosary Procession was carried out with dignity and devotion. Congratulations to the voluntary organisers of the 2005 pilgrimage.
While attendance was good, it could have been better. The absence of younger pioneers in greater numbers was due partly to the number of GAA championships matches played at the same time in Castlebar, Clones, Dublin and elsewhere. It is a pity that the prime football and hurling championship season is clashing with the main national pilgrimages. Should we consider adjusting our major pilgrimages dates to fit in with GAA and other sports fixtures? Any views?
Fr. Micheal Mac Gréil, SJ