A Spiritual Journey to Ireland
Youth on Pilgrimage
Hello, I am Areece Piluden from Old Donation Episcopal Church, the trip has been amazing from start to end. Currently in the airport just waiting to board our plane.
And from Bob+ -- We are lining up! Prayers for our safe flight are appreciated!
Howdy, I’m John Perdue from Eastern Shore Chapel, and yesterday we went to Glendalough and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. At Glendalough, we watched a cool short film about the history of the ruins, which I thought really added to the experience since it gave me an idea of what actually happened there, and not just admiring the old stone ruins. After the tour guide gave us another little backstory about Glendalough, the pilgrims all went on a walk to this lake with a gorgeous view. Father Bob told us a story about St. Kevin, and how he stood in the lake and held his arms out long enough for birds to build nests in his hands, which I’m sure must’ve been awhile. Speaking of birds and ducks, there were a lot of them. They were surprisingly comfortable around humans, and some pilgrims hand fed corn nuts to which looked like teenage ducks (they were big but not fully matured, and still walked around with their mother.) After we all admired the view for a bit, we had another meditation time, and I found a perfect tree to climb up and reflect in. Soon after, the rectors called us back, and we had a Eucharist service. After all the walking, we were all pretty hungry, and Father Bob treated us to lunch at a little hotel restaurant with some fancy sandwiches.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral was truly amazing. We had a tour guide, who also ended up being a member of the choir there, who was great at both of his jobs. St. Patrick's Cathedral had so many cool artifacts from hundreds of years ago, and even the building itself was around 800 years old, with obviously some modern upkeep so the whole thing wouldn’t collapse. After the tour, we stayed for Evensong, I was super impressed by how much skill and talent the choir members had. At the end, most pilgrims left after the service, but I stayed to listen to the organist play his postlude. According to the tour guide, the organ booth was the highest up in all of Europe. Some organ pipes were as small as a couple inches but as long as around 10 meters. The organist was so talented, and sitting there listening to all the different notes played in a beautiful symphony gave me chills. I was sitting there with my jaw dropped at some points and my eardrums were celebrating being able to experience that marvelous tune. I wish it never ended. I also purchased a cool little keychain and a coin.
Hello, I’m Ethan, from Old Donation Church. We packed up early in the morning. After saying our goodbyes to the good people at Corymeela, our next destination was the Gobbin’s Cliff Path. We stopped at the building for lunch. I have been loving the orange Fanta soda here, and decided to grab one at the cafe in the building. It was then that I learned that my funds had run out. Lydia was kind enough to step in and pay for it while I fumbled embarrassedly with my words and thoughts of what to do next. I was very grateful, but this isn’t the first time this has happened on the trip. I have had a few money fumbles (nothing big thankfully), and people have always stepped in quickly and unprompted to offer their assistance and generosity. Many a time in the past I have regretted being overly generous due to financial reasons and sugar cravings. (Tipping 50%, giving the rest of my candy corn to a homeless man, etc.) But I remember the feeling of joy the person receives, and that all generosity eventually returns, and it makes me content. It can be easy to forget how generosity is a cycle, and it can feel like you deprived yourself or someone else for a brief feeling of satisfaction. Whenever you can, remember when people have given you good things unwarranted, and know that you have been invested in, that even if you are not cared for (which you are) people have hope for you and trust that you might make their lives and the lives of others better. But I’m getting off topic. The beginning of Gobbin’s Cliff Path was a simple but steep downhill, and the rest of the path was narrow and rocky, but nowhere near as difficult as Croagh Patrick. I creatively “named” a hand shaped pathway carved by the tide that we passed by, right next to Submarine Rock, which was named already. At the time the rain was very light, but after exiting the dark and narrow cave-tunnel it was pouring. Because of a past rockfall, we could not complete the trip along the path, and instead returned back the way we came. Then came the difficult part. The simple downhill was now a difficult uphill, equivalent to a portion of Croagh Patrick. But that’s more than enough from me, I’ll let the others continue.
Hello, my name is Charlotte and I go to Old Donation. At morning worship, we had a really nice 20 minutes of silence where we got to sit with our thoughts. Personally, I took a nap because I was tired. After that, we got a presentation from a guy named Jonny which was really interesting. With about 30 minutes of free time, I went to the game room with Mirabella and we played ping-pong even though we both suck. After that, we went to Giant’s Causeway where I took some beautiful pictures. The views were magnificent from every angle. Mirabella and I also bought some really delicious sea salt caramel chocolate. Later, Mirabella, Abbie, and I went to the Croix where we played piano and did karaoke. At evening worship, there was some really beautiful music. One of the songs was in D Minor, one of my favorite keys. After evening worship, I played music with William.
Hello, my name is Mirabella and I attend Old Donation Church. Today we did a workshop where we learned more about the history of Ireland and about the parts of reconciliation which were truth, justice, mercy, and peace. It was really powerful to learn about all of these problems that occurred in part because people were isolated from others who are different from them. That isolation led to ignorance, stereotypes, and dehumanizing and ultimately demonizing them. When they believe the opponents are evil, it is easy to believe that God is on their side. We learned how to be cautious to get to know people who are different from you and don’t let isolation allow you to believe stereotypes and lead to dehumanization and demonization.
Later, we went to the Giant’s Causeway and walked the trail. The views were really beautiful and it was good to find some space away from people to just enjoy it. The rock formations were unlike anything I had ever seen before. For me, it feels like a sign of God. After we got back to Corrymeela, we talked as a group then had a bit of free time. I went with a group of us to walk to the beach and into town to go get ice cream. I talked a lot with Naomi and really felt like I got to know her better and there were some spectacular views and I got some really good pictures. There was one where the sun was reflecting on the water and there was a contrast between the orange and the vibrant blue sky and it was just so stunning against the cliffs and it reminded me of where we are and just how grateful I am to be here.
Hello, my name is Lydia. I attend Eastern Shore Chapel. I've built a strong connection with God during this trip through friendships, music, and worship. This morning, we had a prayer session in the Croix, where we sat in silence for 20 minutes. At first, I was just hoping my stomach wouldn’t be loud. Fortunately, I learned that silence can be the bridge to hearing the Holy Spirit. I started my prayers by asking for communication and a clear message that God was with me. But sometimes I underestimate how often he does show his presence. He has given me laughter, connection, and appreciation for all of the things I have. God has completely flipped my life around in the past few weeks and I had no idea it was coming.
Hello, my name is Davis, and I attend Old Donation Church. Today we were part of a workshop with Jonny Clark. His focus was reconciliation and what he has learned in Northern Ireland over the past 40 years. He was talking about giving forgiveness even when it seemed impossible. He has known some people who say they can never forgive, such as several friends whose spouses or parents were murdered during the “Troubles” for no reason except they were in the wrong place when violence took place. He said that if you can’t forgive someone for what they did at least pray for them to understand what they did wrong. Jonny described John Paul Yoder’s work saying that reconciliation will require truth, mercy, justice and peace. True full reconciliation won't happen and last unless those are part.
Hello, my name is William. Yesterday, we arrived at Corrymeela. We met people there from Ireland, Scotland, and back home in America, and made plenty new friends. Everyone here was super welcoming and kind. Some of the kids from Scotland offered us Jaffa cakes and asked us questions about American life and culture, and we asked them questions about life and culture back in Scotland. Later that evening, we went to the Croi and heard the story of Zacchaeus climbing the tree to see Jesus. It was relieving to hear that verse, since it made me feel that if God could eat supper with one of the lowliest sinners, he might welcome someone like me into his home.