Hallam Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes

Sunday 28 June – Friday 3 July

Led by Bishop Ralph

£625.00 including Insurance

By Air – Doncaster Airport to Lourdes

and Return, 5 nights Full Board

For details please telephone 07724 650066

or 01302 853937

A key feature of our diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes is the way in which pilgrims who have significant medical conditions, or need additional support, stay with other pilgrims in hotels in Lourdes (in specially adapted rooms and with specialist equipment where necessary) placing them at the heart of the pilgrimage.  Every stage of the pilgrimage is planned in great detail with these pilgrims in mind – eg the boarding of the aircraft and allocation of seats, and a wheelchair accessible coach between Lourdes airport and the hotels.

All these practical arrangements, however, depend on the availability of volunteer helpers who travel on the pilgrimage and Lourdes sgive assistance on the journey and throughout the pilgrimage in Lourdes.

Helpers offer their service to others in a spirit of love and generosity.  Pope Francis frequently refers to service of others, and we have all seen images of him living out that service in his actions.

In Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) Pope Francis reminds us that the Gospel tells us to “run the risk of a face-to-face encounter with others, with their physical presence which challenges us, with their pain and their pleas, with their joy which infects us in our close and continuous interaction”, saying that “true faith is inseparable from self-giving, from membership in the community, from service, from reconciliation with others”.  Travelling as a helper on pilgrimage to Lourdes is one way of doing this.

Helpers provide service in a wide variety of ways.  Doctors and nurses provide the medical support that is required, and use their professional skills in the service of others.  We are very fortunate to have five doctors travelling this year, but urgently need more nurses who hold a current registration.

We are also fortunate that over 200 young people join us on pilgrimage, travelling with their schools, and they will provide a large part of the practical support to pilgrims and help push wheelchairs to and from the various services and in the processions.

In addition to the medical team and youth, however, we also depend heavily on volunteer male and female helpers.  Their help is particularly important on the journey and in the hotel.  This can include listening and chatting, helping during the services and processions, and assisting a pilgrim who has poor mobility or needs help with washing and dressing.

To volunteer as a male or female helper you don’t need any experience or qualification.  All that is required is that you are willing to help during the pilgrimage, are in reasonable health, and undertake (or already hold) an enhanced DBS check with the Diocese.  A preparation day will be held for all helpers who are booked on the pilgrimage on 9 May, where information will be shared on “moving and handling”, safeguarding and an outline of the pilgrimage given.

Would you consider travelling on this year’s pilgrimage as a helper?

For further details please contact Fr Pat O’Connor on 01302 853937 or Rose Shay on 07724 650066.