While some religious groups who were regular attenders at the National Ploughing Championships will not be present this year, others will keep the faith flag flying.
The Legion of Mary, the Franciscans, the Daughters of Charity, St
Joseph of Cluny Sisters, EWTN and Trócaire will all have stands at
Europe’s largest outdoor exhibition and agricultural trade show which
takes place this year from 20 to 22 September 2016 at Screggan,
The Church of Ireland diocese of Kildare and Meath and the Methodist
Church will also have exhibition stands however this year the Catholic
diocese of Meath, Vocations Ireland, the Irish Missionary Union, the
Jesuits and other orders who normally attend, will be giving the
exhibition a miss.
Sr Peggy McLoughlin, who worked for many years in the United States
before returning to work in Ireland, will be present at the stand of the
Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny at the Ploughing.
“It is a way of making ourselves known,” she told
CatholicIreland.net. She has been attending the championships for eight
years. “You get lovely reactions from people and we meet a lot of past
pupils or people who are related to our sisters.”
It is a witness to your faith and belief, she says.
Last year’s event attracted 281,000 people.
“I think it is important to be present,” says Br Pat Lynch, Vocations
Director of the Franciscans who have also attended the Ploughing for
Last year the order moved to the retail section of the exhibition to
ensure a greater footfall.
They ended up beside a stand promoting a new
At the stand they distribute free prayer cards and back copies of their bi-monthly magazine ‘St Anthony Brief’.
The Franciscan Vocations Director does not expect to pick up
vocations through the Ploughing – that is not the point, he says. “We
are sowing seeds and we never know where our prayer cards and magazines
“We are wearing our habits and are visible. I think it is good for religious to be there as a witness to others.”
Last year a number of the Franciscan students were present at their
stand for a day and they are hoping to do the same this year.