Western People, July 23, 2003
By Michael Gallagher
Stark warnings of impending doom were doled out to a few hundred pilgrims at the tenth anniversary celebrations of Achill’s House of Prayer on Wednesday last.
In a message purported to be given to Mrs. Christina Gallagher from the Blessed Virgin criticism was levelled at the spread of commercialism throughout the world.
Fr. Gerard McGinnity, spiritual director of the project, read the message to the pilgrims gathered in the grounds as fog hung over Achill Sound. Warnings of horrendous disasters if people do not turn to God were relayed over loudspeakers.
“You and your Government worship money and a web of evil is spreading around Europe and the World. The stench of sin and evil is everywhere and you merry in it,” the gathering was told as Our Lady’s displeasure at the Masstricht Treaty was explained.
Fr McGinnity went on to say that few had responded to last year’s message and pilgrims were warned to “wake up for the salvation of souls, you cannot see that the evil one is robbing you of your inheritance.” He explained that Mrs. Gallagher has been treated badly by most of the Irish public.
“She is met with mockery and contempt wherever she goes and is suffering much.”
The expected arrival of 6000 pilgrims did not materialise and at any one time the crowd numbered at only a few hundred. Mrs. Gallagher moved out of the house in the late afternoon to greet the pilgrims but the throngs of last year were non-existent. Achill Island was shrouded in cloud for most of the day and traffic moved smoothly through the village. In previous years American visitors made up large numbers of the pilgrims but it is thought that many are now reluctant to travel here since the September 11th disaster. However House of Prayer manager Noel Hogan said that the turnout made no difference to the success of the event.
“It’s a perfect day for us, ten years is a real milestone. People come here with their own problems and speak to the Blessed Mother about them. They get peace and solace from their visit, “ he said.