The Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Charles Browne, was with the Archbishop of Tuam, Michael Neary, and the Bishop of Achonry, Brendan Kelly, among the climbers who began their climb at 7am.
At 10.30am Mass at the summit of the mountain, Archbishop Neary prayed for all those who were taking part in the climb and said the trek allowed people time to reflect on their relationships with others. Climbing Croagh Patrick “enables us to recognise our relationships with others in the way in which we negotiate our own and other people’s frailties”, he said. “We become conscious of weakness and powerlessness. This ought to influence our behaviour. It helps us to respect what is at risk in the life of another and to work on behalf of another’s need.”
He also defended the Church’s participation in public debates. “A mature secularism would welcome and provide space for religious believers in the public sphere,” said the archbishop. “The denial of the Church’s right to participate in public debates is the hallmark of a country seeking to deny religious freedom.”
Meanwhile, Mayo Mountain Rescue reported 13 casualties from the climb, with two people said to be in a serious condition. One man sustained a head injury at around 7am and was taken immediately by air ambulance to Castlebar General Hospital.
Shane Maguire of Mayo Mountain Rescue said a second man had a heart attack.