Divine inspiration for one shepherd
Published 27/09/2015 | 02:30
When Pope Francis called on the world's priests to live like true shepherds who know their sheep, Ireland's religious communities knew there was only one place to be - the National Ploughing Championships.
From row one to 47, church groups and charities spread the word of their mission, activities and fundraisers across the meadows of Ratheniska, Co Laois.
The Franciscan Missionaries of Mary, Order of Friars Minor, Church of Ireland, The Methodist Church of Ireland and many more pitched up at the ploughing.
The Jesuits in Ireland set up their first ever marquee next door to the massively popular GAA sports tent.
School children even took selfies with a life-sized cutout of Pope Francis while queuing to get into the GAA store.
The cross of Venerable John O'Sullivan - likely to be the first Irish Jesuit saint - was also on display. However, the main goal of religious groups at the ploughing was to show their connection to rural life.
Pat Coyle, Director of Irish Jesuit Communications, said it's vital for the order to be present among the people.
"It's important to show that real religion is not something divorced from everyday life and made for a chapel only or a religious festival," she said.