Sunday 28 June – Friday 3 July 2015
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
We all like to receive an invitation …. for example to a party or a wedding. I would like to invite you to join me on the 2015 Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes. This won’t be my first pilgrimage to Lourdes by any means, but it will be my first time with the Diocese of Hallam and I readily accepted the invitation to lead the pilgrimage.
The pastoral theme for our 2015 pilgrimage is “Lourdes, the Joy of Mission”. Pope Francis has set out the huge challenge to all of us in Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel) to become Spirit-Filled Evangelisers. In that document Pope Francis also says that “journeying together to shrines …. is in itself an evangelising gesture” and that “.. in these many shrines, we can see how Mary brings together her children who with great effort come as pilgrims to see her and to be seen by her. Here they find strength from God to bear the weariness and the suffering in their lives.”
By their very nature pilgrimages have always required “great effort”. Although travel in the 21st century is much easier (and we are fortunate to be able to fly direct to Lourdes from Doncaster Airport, within the Diocese), I know that the cost remains a burden for many people, particularly in the current climate. But if you are in a position to be able to consider travelling, I know that you will be warmly welcomed.
A diocesan pilgrimage is important for two reasons. It gives us the opportunity to come together, from all corners of the diocese; to spend those few days in prayer and also spend time together serving one another in community. Lourdes is a very special place of prayer and healing. Our diocesan pilgrimage also gives an opportunity for those in our parishes who may need medical support or special assistance, to be able to travel to Lourdes and to stay in hotels with other pilgrims, at the heart of our pilgrimage.
Over 200 young people from around the Diocese are expected to join us. I’ve already heard how much these young people inspire everyone on the pilgrimage and how wonderful they are. The pilgrimage could not operate without them, or without the volunteer doctors and nurses, and male or female helpers who travel to help other pilgrims. Please do consider volunteering if you feel able to do so.
So, I’d like to ask you to consider the invitation to join me on pilgrimage to Lourdes in 2015. If you are able to come with us you will be most welcome, but if you are not able to travel, I would warmly invite you to join us in prayer for the duration of our time in Lourdes from Sunday, 28 June to Friday, 3 July 2015, so that we can be truly united as a Diocese in prayer for those few days.
Yours in Christ the Redeemer,