LEICESTER, United Kingdom – Catholics in Ireland are being given a chance to vote on their favorite prayer during one of the largest outdoor festivals in the world.
The National Ploughing Championship brings nearly a quarter of a million people to watch people use tractors, horses, and other means to create the best farrow in a field. The event – which is really a celebration of rural culture – moves around Ireland, and this year’s 88th edition is taking place in County Carlow.
Bishop Denis Nulty said five prayers have been shortlisted: Guardian Angel Prayer, Our Father, Hail Mary, the Rosary, and the Memorare.
“It’s so important we as a diocese are present in the middle of Europe’s biggest outdoor event, responding to the call of Pope Francis to be present to people in the midst of their busy and hectic lives. Farming community are the backbone of many of our rural parishes in Ireland and contribute so much to church life. I find people respond so positively to our presence here,” Nulty said.
Visitors to the diocesan stand will be invited to spend time in prayer, and have items blessed. Soloists and choirs from the diocese will also perform. Of course, it being Ireland, plenty of tea will also be on offer.
“Our visitors always appreciate gifts of blessed salt and wristbands, and our various wall displays. Despite so much activity at our stand, many people value a little quiet time too, in prayer,” the bishop said.
In addition, Nulty has invited people to celebrate the Season for Creation – an ecumenical event observed from Sept. 1 to Oct. 4 to raise awareness of care for the environment. The worldwide initiative has been given the backing of Pope Francis.
“Because the three-day Ploughing Championship focuses on rural living, I wanted to find a new prayer about caring for our common home,” the Irish bishop said.
He has started a contest inviting people to compose their own prayer about protecting nature.
“The entries have come in from across Ireland and I look forward to announcing the winning prayer later in the week,” Nulty said.
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