Pilgrimage is an outward journey that leads to inner change. For thousands of years, people have undertaken pilgrimages as a spiritual practice to gain clarity in their lives, to discern a future direction, to encounter God’s presence, and to find refreshment and restoration for body, soul and mind. Pilgrimage – whether referred to by this name or another – is a practice that can be found in many faiths, and among all denominations within Christianity.
As a part of my ministry, I plan and accompany pilgrimages to Ireland (North and South). I work with church groups, college-aged students, high schoolers, adult groups; those interested in Celtic Spirituality, Peace and Reconciliation, spiritual direction or contemplative spirituality; people from all walks of life and of many faith backgrounds seeking to enrich their spiritual lives. Having lived in Northern Ireland for over six years, I enjoy sharing the land that I fell in love with – in its richness and its struggles – with fellow pilgrims.
In preparing for pilgrimages, I work alongside the travel agency Celtic Footstep to book itineraries that are tailor-made to suit each group’s interests, pace, comfort, and hopes for the journey. Typically, I collaborate with one or two leaders associated with the pilgrimage group in planning the trip beforehand. During the pilgrimages that I accompany, I provide a pastoral presence, liaison with the local culture, share insights into the history of spirituality in Ireland, and offer opportunities for informal or formal spiritual direction. In every pilgrimage I also include music in our daily reflection or worship times, particularly bringing in the psalms that I have arranged to Irish and Scottish traditional melodies (Celtic Psalms).
If you would like to discuss the possibility of planning a pilgrimage together, please contact me at pilgrimagedirector at gmail dot com.
View the blessmyfeet blog for reflections, prayers, and further information on pilgrimages.
A Celtic Pilgrimage Prayer
God, be with us in every valley,
Jesus, be with us on every hill,
Holy Spirit, be with us
on every stream,
every cliff’s edge,
every green pasture;
every moor and meadow,
in the crest of the waves
on the sea.
Each time we rest,
and each time we wake up;
God be with us
(Adapted from a Celtic prayer from the Carmina Gadelica)