Church leaders celebrate St Columba and Irish ‘Camino’ at Long Tower

Leaders from the four main Christian denominations in the North West gathered outside Áras Cholmcille – the St Columba Heritage Centre, in the grounds of Long Tower Church – on Thursday afternoon for a short ecumenical prayer service.

It had been arranged to mark the arrival in Londonderry of a group of walkers who had been retracing St Columba’s footsteps from Glencolumbkille to Greencastle, a route now known as An Slí Cholmcille – St Columba’s Way – which it is hoped will come to be regarded as the Irish ‘Camino’.

The walkers were led by the Roman Catholic Bishop of Raphoe, Dr Alan McGuckian, who is an avid walker, and had been accompanied on the route from Letterkenny to Derry by the Bishop of Derry, Dr Donal McKeown. Thursday was the penultimate day of their 12-day trek.

Among those waiting to greet the group at Long Tower were the Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, Rt Rev Andrew Forster, the Rev Keith Hibbert from Cumber & Cumber Upper Presbyterian Churches, and Rev John Montgomery from Carlisle Road Methodist Church. Bishop McGuckian’s brother, Fr Barney McGuckian SJ, was also waiting at the St Columba Heritage Centre to welcome the pilgrims.