Image shows hundreds of diocesan pilgrims processing in blue t-shirts in front of the basilica

“The spirit of Lourdes is alive and well” – Lourdes at Home

Thursday 6th August 2020

Over the last week our pilgrimage family have been on a special, unique journey – our first virtual pilgrimage, experiencing Lourdes at Home.

Of course we would all like to be in the Grotto itself, but we have spent this week united together in prayer, sharing memories of previous pilgrimages and taking a moment to remember those who are no longer with us.

Below we have shared some of the week’s highlights.

At the start of the week, Fr Ged shared his hopes for the week: “This year my prayer is that each one of us will allow the spirit of Lourdes to bring to life within us a renewed commitment to serve our brothers and sisters and to serve the Lord.”

On Sunday, Bishop John celebrated our pilgrimage Mass from Salford Cathedral and called on us to consider what Our Lady would ask of us if we were in the Grotto. He suggested that this might be for us to care for each other during this time of pandemic, and to recognise that caring for our brothers and sisters starts with us. He encouraged us to keep the sick close, because they are the most important pilgrims we take with us to Lourdes. You can read his full Homily by scrolling down.

An emotional video where members of the pilgrimage family shared what Lourdes means to them was shared on Monday evening. Dr Jenny Klimiuk, Medical Director for the Salford Lourdes pilgrimage, said: “Lourdes is a place of deep spiritual peace and healing and renewal.” 

Gwyneth Walker shared her acknowledgement of the unusual circumstances: “I know that we will all be missing each other this week and I’m sure that there will be a few tears as we follow the alternative programme that we have planned; not in the physical company of each other but in our own homes. but then, becoming emotional is a normal feeling in Lourdes.”

Next year’s pilgrimage will take place from 30th July – 5th August 2021. 

Find out more on the Salford Lourdes website.

Key Moments Throughout the Week

What Lourdes means to me

A video from pilgrims, volunteers and the Salford Lourdes team which shares what Lourdes means to them.

Sharing Memories of Lourdes

Throughout the week members of the Lourdes family have shared their memories on social media.

Pilgrimage Mass

Bishop John celebrated a pilgrimage Mass from Salford Cathedral on Sunday.  You can watch the video here, and Bishop John’s Homily is transcribed below.

Bishop John’s Lourdes at Home Homily

So, we’re doing our best to know that we’re in the Grotto at Lourdes.

And what will we be wanting to say, as we gather for Mass in the Grotto? First of all, I think that we’ve got to make sure that we present the sick pilgrims to Our Lady. They are the most important pilgrims among us, they are much the reason for us being there and we need to present them.

In our own minds we will know of those sick people around us, people that we know, that of course in this year, we really need to bring the sick of the pandemic. Vast numbers of people around the world who are suffering from the virus. We can present them before Mary, our Mother.

What are we going to say to her? Well, I rather like that title that Pope Francis reintroduced when he came to be the Pope. Mary, the Untier of Knots. I think we have quite a lot of knots to untie at the moment. We have got really quite confused by the many rules and regulations and, of course, we can look to the decision makers and say that they got it wrong on this and on that, because it’s such a strange time, yes – surely the decision makers will have made some mistakes. Politicians around the world seem to have confused so many of the issues and I’m left thinking at times, that the one important thing seems to be the economy rather than people. And it seems we have quite a lot of lessons to learn about how we come away from this pandemic with a right source of priorities in our own minds.

So we’re asking Mary, as the Untier of Knots, to help us sort out the mess that we are in and the mess that we, in particular in this part of Greater Manchester and in parts of East Lancashire, in these days of additional directives we have got to look after one another and keep each other safe.

But I also wonder what Mary might be saying to us, as we gather at the Grotto. Might it just be one word? Care. Care for one another, care in this time when we are all so vulnerable. Care for our brothers and sisters around the world, because we’ve learnt haven’t we that we are so connected, so many people are suffering so much more than we are. In poorer countries there is a lack of healthcare, because in so many places there is crowded living, in squalid slums and in refugee camps around the world. We are leaving our brothers and sisters so much more vulnerable in so many ways. Are we prepared to take the challenge? To say the world has not got the right priorities, and we need Our Lady’s help to guide us and to get those priorities right so that we do care for our common home. And as Pope Francis so often insists, everything is connected. And I don’t know about you, but I was shocked and saddened by one of the headlines this morning about the Amazon – yet again. Satellites identifying 7,000 fires. That’s 28% more than this time last year when we were entering into the most devastating period of the Amazon during their dry period.  It seems that the good advice and the learning has not been noticed.

We have a lot to place in Mary’s hands, and she will guide us I’m sure. But we need to take responsibility too and in this pandemic things start with us in the way that we  care for one another and the way that we’re looking after one another and looking to the future and the challenges of making our world a better place. It’s so disappointing not to be in Lourdes this week, but our prayers are not wasted. And perhaps not being in Lourdes makes it all the more apparent that we do need Mary’s prayer so that we can go about our daily lives with that sense of being ambassadors for Christ and Missionary Disciples.

Let’s pray for our world and let’s pray for the care for one another in all that we do so that we may make our world a better place. Let’s remember from that wonderful second reading, from St Paul’s letter to the Romans, nothing separates us from the Love of God, even the mess around us. St Paul states so clearly, nothing separates us and then lists a lot of things that we might think could possibly separate us from the love of God – but they don’t matter. His love is constant. And therefore his help and care for us and His being with us is constant too.

Stay with us Lord, on our Journey.

Facebook Twitter

Tagged | Lourdes

In other news