This year, we were sadly unable to travel in pilgrimage to Echternach to participate in the annual Hopping Procession in honour of St Willibrord. We were very honoured in 2017 to be gifted a reliquary of St Willibrord who studied at Rath Melsigi and was ordained in Old Leighlin. It was a joy for us to travel to Echternach in 2017 and we very much looked forward to travelling this year, but sadly because of Covid 19, like so much of our plans, it has not come to fruition.
The relic, which is on permanent display in the Cathedral of the Assumption, Carlow, was presented to Bishop Denis on Monday June 5th 2017. Our devotion to St Willibrord is part of a wider ecumenical heritage which we share with our friends from the Church of Ireland. Fond memories remain of the walk with Willibrord in June 2017 linking the Cathedral at Old Leighlin and the Cathedral here in Carlow. St Willibrord is the Patron Saint of Luxembourg and is buried in the Basilica in Echternach. While we went as pilgrims in 2017 the late Fr John Cummins led a reconaissance mission a year earlier to ensure our pilgrimage went without a hitch. It is interesting to note that the first pilgrimage from these parts to Echternach began in 690AD when Willibrord led a mission from Carlow to Echternach. The videos below will bring back happy memories for many. as we look forward to a time when we can travel safely again.