Saturday, 28th April saw the Eucharistic Crusade assemble in Athlone for the spring instalment of its quarterly gatherings. After 11am Mass, the packed lunches were broken out. Once the serious business of sandwich-eating had been put aside, the day really got into full swing.
Father Ockerse gave an inspiring talk on Our Lord’s agony in the Garden of Olives, and how, whilst our sins add to the distress He experienced, we can help console Him with our good works as pages, crusaders, knights and handmaids. He also illustrated how to deal with our faults, including the big, bad Goliath that is our dominant fault. Hangman then returned once again after its popularity in October, and once the poor hanging chap on the diagram had met his seemingly inevitable fate we were ready to set out on our outing.
Lough Ree was the destination, and the mode of transport was a Viking Ship! We boarded the vessel down at the quayside in Athlone before setting off. The weather was perfect for a Viking voyage (also for pillaging and plundering, but unfortunately that didn’t seem to be on the agenda). Everything went fairly smoothly, apart from when the alarm was raised by certain individuals that there was a boy in the water. Upon ascertaining this buoy was meant to be bobbing on the surface of the Shannon however, fears were allayed. An enjoyable time was had sailing upriver to Lough Ree and then back to Athlone.
Having weighed anchor, we disembarked and proceeded back to the parish hall for the long-anticipated mystery activity. Father had put together a brilliant four-round quiz with some testing questions on our knowledge of the catechism, the saints and more. We were split into four teams and the brain-wracking commenced.
By the time the final round was getting underway, it had shaped into a two-horse race between “The Winners” and “The Golfers”, and the bitter struggle ended in “The Winners” becoming “The Losers”. However, a rather flexible marking scheme, a clear lack of appreciation for artistic talent and apparent colour blindness left the final result shrouded in controversy.
The day drew to a close with Benediction and the recitation of the Rosary at 4pm, as we all thanked God for another wonderful day organised by Father, and went home with our commitments as members of the Crusade renewed in our hearts. Deo gratias!
By Ethan Connoly