Derry’s two bishops paid a symbolic visit to a flood-damaged bridge as they set out on their latest joint pilgrimage.
The 15-miles walk was the penultimate in a series of joint pilgrimages Church of Ireland Bishop Ken Good and Catholic Bishop Donal McKeown have been undertaking this year to highlight their shared Christian witness and heritage.
This was followed by a walk from Limavady to Garvagh.
The first walk began with prayers in St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Claudy and, then, at Cumber Upper Church of Ireland.
Before setting off on their walk, the two leaders visited a nearby bridge which was wrecked in the recent flooding and spoke to workmen repairing it.
Bishop McKeown said the gesture was symbolic of their determination to build bridges in the community.
On the outskirts of Strabane, they were met by Fr Declan Boland and the Curate of Camus-Juxta-Mourne Parish, Rev Mark Lennox.
The Strabane clergymen had organised brief joint services in their churches.
Bishop Good said he had been overwhelmed by the messages of support and sympathy he had received from right across the community following the desecration of Christ Church (Derry) during a recent break-in.
He said the messages of solidarity would be a great comfort to the parishioners at Christ Church.
The bishops completed the last leg of their pilgrimage series on Saturday when they walked from Limavady to Garvagh.
Last April they completed a three-day walk from St Columba’s birthplace at Gartan, in Donegal, to St Augustine’s Church in Derry, and, in June, they made a joint visit to the island of Iona, where St Columba settled, founded a monastery and, eventually, died.
“We are eager to heighten the profile of faith traditions in our dioceses,” the church leaders said in a joint statement, “and hope our shared witness to the Gospel will encourage reconciliation in our community.
“We want to raise awareness of the long ecclesiastical history of our community, its shared Columban narrative and rich Christian heritage.”