In announcing the Year of Mercy, Pope Francis reminded us that “the practice of pilgrimage has a special place in the Holy Year, because it represents the journey each of us makes in this life”.

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Our Lady of Lourdes                                  Photograph courtesy of Service Photo des Sanctuaires Notre-Dame de Lourdes

Bishop Ralph invites you to join him on the 2016 Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes, in this Year of Mercy, which takes place from Sunday, 26 June to Friday, 1 July, departing from and returning to Doncaster Sheffield Airport. Places are still available as a second aircraft has been booked.

During the pilgrimage we come together each day as a Diocese for the celebration of Mass, and for liturgies such as the Service of Reconciliation, Stations of the Cross, Anointing of the Sick and a visit to the Baths. Pilgrims also have the option to participate in the Blessed Sacrament Procession/Adoration and Torchlight Procession which take place each day in the Sanctuary.  There are also times built into the programme for free time, as well as the opportunity for personal prayer at the Grotto.

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Photograph courtesy of Photo Durand

The Grotto of Lourdes is where St Bernadette Soubirous had eighteen encounters with Our Lady in 1858. Now, it is a unique place of silence and prayer, where we can enter into a more personal encounter with the Lord.  We come to Lourdes just as we are, to experience the grace and love of God.  Lourdes is a place which welcomes our humanity just as it is, with its joys and sorrows, its wounds and frustrations, its failures and triumphs.  It is also a place where those who are ill, or need some form of physical assistance and support, are put first at all times.

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The “Door of Mercy” installed for this Holy Year Photograph courtesy of Service Photo des Sanctuaires Notre-Dame de Lourdes

If you haven’t been to Lourdes before but have considered it, this year is an excellent opportunity, in the Year of Mercy. The fare for 2016 is £625 including flights, five nights’ full board and insurance (a reduction of £26 applies for those with their own insurance).

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Photograph courtesy of Photo Durand

Helpers are still needed, particularly nurses, but also those who are willing to help others.

A current DBS check, undertaken by the Diocese, is required for all helpers.

We also welcome applications from pilgrims, including those who need assistance during their time in Lourdes and will be supported by the large number of young helpers from High Schools around the Diocese, and volunteer helpers.

Booking forms are available from Rose Shay 07724 650066 (Tuesday and Wednesday all day, other weekdays after 6.30pm) or Fr Pat O’Connor 01302 853937, or email hallamlourdespilgrimage@gmail.com.