The annual Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes from the Diocese of Clogher begins tomorrow, Friday 5 July, and lasts until next Wednesday, 10 July 2019. The pilgrimage will be led by Bishop Larry Duffy; this will be his first time to lead the pilgrimage – an event that is part of the life of the diocese since the early 1970s. Some 310 pilgrims from across the diocese will travel to the shrine in the south-west of France where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to St Bernadette in 1858. Among the pilgrims will be 24 assisted pilgrims and 72 members of our youth ministry team Clogher don Óige. Updates from the pilgrimage will be posted on social media platforms daily.
Speaking this week Bishop Larry Duffy said: ‘Pilgrimage reminds us of the journey of life, a journey towards God and with God. Lourdes is a special place for all the sick. The assisted-pilgrims and all of the sick have a special place at the shrine and in the prayers and liturgies that we celebrate at this holy place.’ Bishop Duffy concluded: ‘May we show true solidarity and kindness to all and may we follow the path that Mary aspires for us – the path of Jesus and the Gospel.’, he said.
During the six days, the Clogher pilgrims will take part in various liturgies, including the celebration of Mass each day, a Eucharistic Holy Hour on Sunday, a torchlight procession on the esplanade in front of the world-famous basilica on Monday evening, 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, 9 July. As a result of a collaborative effort between the Clogher Lourdes Pilgrimage Committee, the Diocesan Liturgy Commission and Clogher don Óige, a special booklet has been produced for the pilgrimage. In addition to useful pilgrimage information, this booklet contains the texts of all of the liturgies, music that will be used in the celebrations, plus prayers and reflections that will aid each pilgrim.
This year, the theme at Lourdes is “Blessed are the poor, for the kingdom of God is theirs” (Luke 6:20). Among the saints being commemorated at the shrine in 2019 is St Benedict Joseph Labre, a French-born ‘beggar saint’ of Rome who lived in the 1700s and who is remembered in a special way in St Macartan’s Cathedral in Monaghan due to the fact that when the cathedral was being built, the bishop of the day, Bishop Donnelly, entrusted the project to his intercession.