This Friday, 6 July 2018, will see the beginning of the annual Clogher Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes. Some three hundred pilgrims from all over the diocese, including thirty-five assisted pilgrims and their helpers, will travel to the Marian Shrine in the Pyrenées region of south-west France which is world-renowned as a sanctuary of prayer, peace and healing. It was there in 1858 that the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to a local girl, Bernadette Soubirous. Over the years, many miraculous healings have been attributed to the intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes. The Clogher pilgrims, who will be led by the Diocesan Administrator, Monsignor Joseph McGuinness, will be accompanied by sixty-three young people, members of the diocesan youth ministry organisation, Clogher don Óige. The pilgrimage director is Brian Armitage, Lisnaskea and Fr Noel McGahan PP, Clogher and Eskra is the spiritual director. The pilgrimage lasts until Wednesday 11 July.
During the six days, the Clogher pilgrims will take part in various liturgies, including the celebration of Mass each day, a torchlight procession on the esplanade in front of the world-famous basilica on Saturday evening, a Eucharistic Procession on Sunday, together with the celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and other devotions. The Anointing of the Sick, so much a feature of Lourdes, will be celebrated by the Clogher pilgrims on Tuesday next, 10 July.
This year, the pilgrimage will also see a special emphasis on the family, marking the forthcoming World Meeting of Families in Dublin this August. This is reflected, for example, in a special Family Mass in St Bernadette’s Church, near the shrine, on the morning of Monday 9 July.
The Diocesan Administrator, Monsignor McGuinness, has said that the intentions of all the people of the diocese – especially the sick – will be included the daily prayers of the pilgrims at the shrine and he has asked those at home to, in turn, accompany the pilgrims with their prayers.
Daily updates on the progress of the pilgrimage will be made available on the diocesan website www.clogherdiocese.ie and on the diocesan Facebook and Twitter pages.