Kilmacanogue, Co. Wicklow; Feast of the Assumption, 9:14 am: Several people wearing MAG+S hoodies enter the local St. Mochonog’s church. The fact that they are total strangers and moreover drastically lower the average age of the present congregation is of no importance. The people in hoodies are welcomed with open arms.
Of course we gladly accepted the offer to take care for the musical part of the mass and the readings. While our sweet voices sounded through this house of worship, members of the local congregation joined in the singing, if they knew the song. After mass we shook many hands, our contribution to the celebration was definitely appreciated. One of the lovely ladies told us, that unfortunately they would not have very often the possibility to sing during mass. We were amazed about the giving and taking on both sides.
A parishioner explained to us, that Kilmacanogue was situated in Ireland’s sweetest valley: that is to say between two Sugarloafs. Some of us having already summitted the Wicklow mountain called Little Sugar Loaf, we headed for the Great Sugar Loaf today. The perfect pilgrimage afternoon consisted in an enjoyable hike combined with a prayer circle as well as a time of reflection and silence on the top of the mountain.
For dinner our host family invited us to celebrate a Shabbat meal with them, as they do in the tradition of Messianic Judaism every friday. Blessing their whole family and every single guest, our hosts Bláthnaid and Dave lighted candles and found cordial words for all those present. The atmospheric and delcious meal was a fitting end to a week full of varied encounters.
Tomorrow we will leave the house of our hosts, the place that was opened to us, where we hopefully left a little trace, not only through our work. At Gonzage College in Dublin we will meet all the other experience groups, eager to tell our stories, curious to hear theirs.