Bishop Denis Nulty and members of the Diocesan Ploughing Steering Group gathered this week on the site of the National Ploughing Championships at Ballintrane, Fenagh to launch the Kildare & Leighlin Diocesan Stand.
Bishop Nulty is delighted to welcome the Ploughing Championships back to the diocese and is looking forward to hosting the Diocesan Stand from September 17-19 at the event.
The theme for this year’s Stand is "Digging Deeper – Rooting for Christ" a continuation of the diocesan campaign exploring new ways to help people understand and deepen their faith.
As part of the initiative Bishop Nulty has already launched a search for Ireland’s favourite prayer and has also invited people all over the country to get creative and to write a new prayer for the environment.
Speaking at the launch, he said: "It is fitting that we are launching our Diocesan Stand on the 15th of August, The Feast of the Assumption, a Holy Day when people all over Ireland are visiting Holy Wells and other pilgrimage sites associated with Our Lady and taking time to pray some of the well-known and favourite prayers to Mary, our Mother.
"I expect that many of the prayers prayed today will be submitted in our search for Ireland’s favourite prayer.
"The Ploughing Championships takes place during the annual Season of Creation, which the Catholic Church marks from September 1 – October 4.
"We are all constantly being called to take better care of our common home, the earth, and no group is closer to the earth than those who will attend the ploughing championship.
"To highlight our close connection with God’s created world I am also inviting people to write a new prayer (no more than 100 words) focusing on the environment and our care and concern for it."
Bishop Nulty is extending his ‘Prayer at the Ploughing’ challenge to people of all ages and all faiths.
He is hopeful that many pupils in schools all over the country will take up the challenge to write their own ‘green prayer’ while also submitting their favourite traditional prayer.
People can submit their favourite prayer and their new ‘green prayer’ by sending them to email@example.com.
The closing date for entries is September 10.
Visitors to the stand will be invited to vote for their favourite traditional prayer from those shortlisted.
The winner of the ‘green prayer’ for the environment will be selected by a guest adjudicator and a €100 ‘One for All’ voucher will be presented to its author.
Bishop Nulty went on to talk about the joy of meeting the many people who come to the Diocesan Stand over the three days.
Blessing the salt that will be distributed at the stand this year he said: "One of the most popular gifts that the diocese has ever offered was the packs of blessed salt that were first brought to the event at Ratheniska.
"The salt was sprinkled on the land, on gardens and window boxes and over sick animals. We know that our visitors appreciate our other gifts wristbands and prayer cards.
"They enjoy our various wall displays, the chance to sit, have a cup of tea and a chat. Many people also value the opportunity to spend a little quiet time in prayer."
Commenting on the importance of the National Ploughing Championships event for the diocese, Bishop Nulty said: "Being present at the Ploughing Championships, whenever it is based in the diocese, is always an exciting time for us.
"I thank the NPA Managing Director, Anna May McHugh, who is always so supportive of our participation and for being with us here today.
"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 favourite prayer or to pen their own ‘green prayer’."
For more on the Prayer at the Ploughing initiative see www.kandle.ie.