LA NEYLIÈRE REUNION AND FOURVIÈRE PLEDGE BICENTENARY
Dundalk, Saturday May 14th 2016
All staff members from the three Marist Fathers' schools in Ireland and St. Mary's College, Blackburn, who had taken part in the annual 'In the Footsteps of the Founder' visit to France were invited to attend a reunion in Dundalk which would also celebrate the signing of the pledge in Fourvière. Of the teachers who had visited La Neylière since 2008, a large group assembled on a sunny Saturday morning at the Shrine of St. Brigid at Faughart, north of Dundalk. The elevated site, with views of the town, its surroundings and Dundalk Bay, provided an uplifting setting for the start of the morning's programme.
In the panoramic oratory, Kevin Jennings welcomed everyone and explained that not only was it a reunion but also that we were marking the bicentenary of the Fourvière Pledge in a special way. Fr David Corrigan then led us in a reflection inspired by our experiences at La Neylière and surrounding sites of significance to all Marists. Bernie Deery (MEA), who grew up in the parish, provided a brief account of the history of the place and of the life and influence of St. Brigid and her influence on local religious and cultural life, illustrated with a traditional St. Brigid's Cross made from rushes.
As well as access to the oratory, the parish priest had kindly offered us the relic of St.Brigid, which Bernie spoke about and which was made available to the group. This was followed by a leisurely visit to the pilgrimage site, with its spring well, stations of the cross and other devotional features.
Back in Dundalk, at the magnificent new building recently opened by St. Mary's College, a reunion Mass was celebrated by Fr. Edwin McCallion, with beautiful music by Pippa Brady of St. Mary's College. This was followed by a very pleasant lunch in the new college's canteen and a tour of the new building for those who were seeing it for the first time.
Everyone agreed that this had been a very fitting way to celebrate the occasion.