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Ireland: A Plough and a Prayer

Bishop Denis Nulty seeks Ireland’s favorite prayer and a new prayer for the environment

Visitors to the 88th National Ploughing Championships in County Carlow from September 17-19 have two new challenges: they are being asked to vote for their favorite traditional prayer and to compose a prayer for the protection of the environment. The search to discover Ireland’s best-loved prayer, and a new one focusing on care for the environment, is the quest of Bishop Denis Nulty, Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin, in whose diocese the ploughing championship is once again being held.

Launching the search for Ireland’s favorite prayer which Bishop Nulty said, “In the most recent census, over 85% of respondents said they had a religious affiliation. Prayer is still important for many citizens. In the two months leading up to the Ploughing Championships, I am asking people all around the country to choose the prayer they like most, such as the Rosary or the Lord’s Prayer.  Perhaps a prayer learned at their mother’s knee or handed down ó ghlúin go glúin in their family.”

Bishop Nulty continued, “The Ploughing Championships takes place in the middle of the annual Season of Creation, which the Catholic Church marks from 1 September  – 4 October. Because the 3-day ploughing championship focuses on rural living, I am also inviting people to submit a personal prayer (no more than 100 words) about the environment which they compose themselves. This new environmentally centered prayer could relate to farming, gardening or sustainability.”

Bishop Nulty is extending his ‘Prayer at the Ploughing’ challenge to people of all ages and all faiths. He is hopeful that many school children will take up the challenge to write their own ‘green’ prayer and/or indicate which traditional prayer they prefer.

People can submit their preferences and entries to prayerattheploughing@kandle.ie between now and 10 September.

A shortlist of the favorite prayers will be displayed at the Kildare & Leighlin stand when the event gets underway at Ballintrane, near Fenagh in County Carlow on 17 September.

Visitors to the Kildare & Leighlin Diocesan stand will be invited to vote for their favorite traditional prayer from the shortlist. The prayer for the environment will be selected by a guest adjudicator and the winner in this section will receive a €100 ‘One for All’ voucher.

The Prayer at the Ploughing is one of several initiatives being taken by Bishop Nulty at the Fenagh event. The theme of the Kildare & Leighlin stand at the ploughing is ‘Digging Deeper – Rooting for Christ’ a continuation of his diocesan campaign exploring new ways for people to understand their faith.

Visitors to the stand will be invited to spend time in prayer and to also enjoy entertainment from soloists and choirs who will attend. Farmers and gardeners will be given blessed salt for their soil and young people will be presented with colorful wristbands. A cup of tea and a warm welcome is also assured.

Commenting on the importance of the National Ploughing Championships for the diocese, Bishop Nulty said, “Participating at the Ploughing Championships is always an exciting time for us whenever the event is held in our diocese. I thank the NPA Managing Director, Anna May McHugh, for her welcome and kindness.

“I expect there will be significant interest in our ‘Prayer at the Ploughing’ competition. We were taught in school that prayer is a lifting up of the mind and heart to God, and I know that many people do that on a daily basis. I am eagerly looking forward to seeing the entries for the favorite traditional prayer of Irish people, those we learned from our parents, grandparents, and teachers.  I am also keen to view the new prayers for the environment and to observe the pleas of people for the protection of our planet.

“We enjoy meeting so many people at the Ploughing. Visitors always appreciate our gifts of blessed salt and our wristbands. They also enjoy our various wall displays. And despite so much activity at our stand, many people value a little quiet time too, in prayer. We are all looking forward to a busy few days in Fenagh in September. In the meantime, I hope many people will take up my challenge to tell me about their favorite prayer or to write a new one around caring for the environment.”

For more on the ‘Prayer at the Ploughing’ initiative see www.kandle.ie

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