9/18/2013 9:19:00 AM Portland priest finishes Pacific Crest Trail
Photo by Fr. Patrick Donoghue
Fr. Patrick Donoghue at the Canada border, the end of the Pacific Crest Trail.
On Aug. 26, St. Anthony Parish’s pastor finished his long pilgrimage of hiking the entire Pacific Crest Trail.
As he reached the United States-Canada border, Father Pat Donoghue snapped a photo of himself in the wilderness.
The Portland priest has been using portions of his time off since 2006 to hike segments of the 2,660-mile trail, which runs along the mountain crest from Mexico to Canada.
Every morning, Father Donoghue began his walk with a prayer, the Lorica of St. Patrick. “I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, through belief in the Threeness, through a Confession of the Oneness of the Creator of Creation…”
In the prayer, St. Patrick asks for protection from poisoning, burning, drowning and wounding. Father Donoghue added his own prayer for protection from ticks, mosquitoes, snakes and scorpions, thunder and lightning, breaks and sprains, and cougars and bears.
In St. Patrick's story, he and his companion missionaries were traveling to the king's court, but druid henchmen waited hidden in the trees, intending to kill St. Patrick and his followers. The missionaries chanted the Lorica as they walked, and as they passed the would-be attackers, they appeared as a doe and 20 fawns.
On his final night, at Hopkins Lake six miles from Canada, Father Donoghue spotted a deer as he retrieved water. As he walked back to his tent, he discovered the deer standing in the middle of his camp.
“We stood and stared at each other for a moment,” Father Donoghue said. “I didn’t want to scare or startle the deer. Not knowing what to say or do I finally said to the deer, ‘Hi, my name is Pat.’ After a moment I added, ‘What is your name?’.
Then, recalling the story of St. Patrick, Father Donoghue answered the question himself, saying aloud, “Oh, your name is Patrick!”
“The deer stood there just long enough, I felt, to affirm my answer and then took off,” Father Donoghue said. “I feel it was a way to let me know that St. Patrick had journeyed with me on my hike. Not as a deer, but very much present with me along the trail.”
Father Donoghue carried missal book, hosts, and sacramental wine in a plastic bottle to celebrate Mass on the trail. A metal sauce holder served as chalice.