From Our Own Correspondent
The churches were crowded .on the feast of the Assumption for the consecration of Ireland, and of every parish, to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
The Government and members of the Corporation attended at the Pro-Cathedral, Dublin, when the Archbishop read the Act of Consecration. In the diocese of Aroagh and Clonmacnois, a letter from the Bishop was read asking for prayers for the Holy Father.
" It is a time, too," wrote Dr. MacNionee, " to pray that those responsible on both sides in the present terrible conflict may be inspired to regard the Holy City of Rome as an ' open town' so that its priceless monuments of cultural and religious value may be spared the lamentable destruction that has befallen so many towns and cities throughout Europe.
"Surely if Athens, for example, can be spared and Paris, too, with war at their very gates, because of their association with ancient and modern culture, a similar immunity can be extended to the Eternal City, which, more than any other, expresses the underlying unity of European. civilisation and shelters the Chair of Peter—the last bastion of peace in a war-torn world and the ultimate hope for the reconciliation of the warring peoples."
At Knock, in Mayo, thousands of pilgiims gathered on the 64th anniversary of the Apparition; and, although it had been announced that the customary vigil would not be held—since travelling is so difficult—there were so many pilgrims seeking Confession that the clergy heard Confession all night, and there were thousands of communicants at Mass. Taken to the shrine two years ago on a stretcher, a Roscommon youth was One of the stewards on duty this year.
Amongst the pilgrims was 77-yearsold Walter Walsh, who walked over 42 miles from near Westport.
Thousands also took part in the 70(1years-old pilgrimage at Our Lady's Island, Co. Wexford. Mass was celebrated in the Church of the Assumption, after which a procession took place around the island. A guard of honour was drawn from Rosslare Harbour L.D.F. at Benediction.
Beside these events, there were Patterns in many parts of the country. In a word, the day was throughout Ireland as sacred as the days of the Eucharistic Congress, 11 years ago, when the air was filled with prayer: the very island seemed vocal in devo• tion.
Simultaneously, the year's pilgrimages to St. Patrick's Purgatory closed. This season has seen 16.746 pilgrims—a " record " total. Transport difficulties could not prevent our people from leeching the famous island resort, where the most austere devotional exercises practised at any European shrine continue to draw ever more and more, even in this age of reputed tepidity. Of old. it was customary to walk barefoot from Pettigo to the shore of Lough Derg, and the road over the moor was marked by great wayside timber crosses. The crosses were destroyed in the last century by bigots.