A week ago today the pilgrims and staff of Lough Derg lost a great friend, a great confessor, a great man.
We invite you to watch the following video below as our tribute to Father Pat.
Father Pat McHugh’s attachment to Lough Derg goes right back to his grandparents who owned a cottage on the Island before hostel accommodation was available for pilgrims. In his school and student days, Pat worked as mass server and at the check in desk on the mainland, returning after ordination for many seasons to work as part of the staff priest team. He was also a regular pilgrim himself; his belief in and commitment to Lough Derg was absolute.
Together with Mary McDaid he published a book of Pilgrims’ Tales to celebrate the great jubilee of 2000. A particular gift of Father Pat’s was his memory of people; he would spot a pilgrim coming up the pier and immediately put a name on them. His Vigil Talk, his homilies and his personal interactions with pilgrims were always rich and meaningful, but his greatest moments were undoubtedly in the confessional; pilgrims so often commented on the wonderful experience of receiving the sacrament through Father Pat.
Even during his illness Father Pat was available to us – when a few of the team did the pilgrimage during the pandemic, live-streamed from Saintt Mary’s Church in Pettigo, Pat was there to celebrate the Masses and lead Night Prayer and benediction. He was proud to be a part of that historic event.
We miss him already and we will miss him more in the future.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.