Lourdes Reflection – three weeks on!
Time passes very quickly and I hope you enjoy this collection of photographs that capture splendidly our second ever Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes: 16-21 July last. After last year’s momentous pilgrimage, the largest one to leave Ireland in 2017, this year’s had a particular focus on the presence of young people and their tremendous witness to caring for the sick and less ambulant. I think this aspect is very obvious from the collage of photographs that follow.
We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our priests and youth leaders who accompanied the young people and designed a programme that introduced ‘Lourdes’ into their lives. Next year I look forward to leading our third and more substantial pilgrimage, where every parish will be represented and the sick will be centre focus.
We travel to Lourdes not as tourists but as pilgrims. Each of us carrying his or her story. For me there are many highlights on each pilgrimage. I think of the moment the hands of the young people were blessed in the Underground Basilica; I think of the Upper Stations and the emotion as we reflected on His journey and how ours and His were interweaved; I think of the Sacrament of Reconciliation as queue’s formed around St. Bernadette’s Basilica and of course the Mass at the Grotto.
The Grotto is very special. It’s the first and last place you visit on pilgrimage. Organising a Pilgrimage is a mammoth task for a group and a diocesan pilgrimage brings complexities of a different scale. I thank our pilgrimage director Fr. Paddy Byrne; our youth directors Cathriona Kelly & Fr. David Vard; our music director Fr. Liam Lawton and accompanist Marian Gaynor; our Master of Ceremonies Fr. David Vard; our Chaplain to the Sick Fr. Tom Little; our nurse Mary Doyle and our Head Brandcardier Sean O’Neill. Most of all I thank you, the priests, the people who travelled with us as pilgrims from our Diocese to Lourdes this year.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
St. Bernadette, pray for us.