Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and in the interests of the health and life of pilgrims, it has been decided that the annual Diocese of Clogher Pilgrimage to Lourdes, scheduled for 5-11 July next will not go ahead. This is the second year that the diocese has been forced to take this decision and it does so with regret, but conscious of the increased number of Covid-19 cases in Ireland and also in France.
Brian Armitage, Director of the Clogher Diocesan Pilgrimage says the decision was not taken lightly. ‘We are all conscious of the significance of the Lourdes pilgrimage to so many people of all ages across the diocese, especially the assisted-pilgrims. It is in the interests of all, including staff members, that this decision is taken’, he said.
Commenting on the decision, the Bishop of Clogher, Bishop Larry Duffy, says that he believes people will understand the reasoning behind it. ‘In a time of pandemic, where there is a serious risk to health and life – especially for those who are vulnerable – it is necessary for us all to serve the common good. This decision, while regrettable, is a necessary one in the present situation’, he said.
Bishop Duffy also paid tribute to the work of the medical and nursing staff who travel to Lourdes each year, noting the outstanding contribution that they are making to the care of those who are suffering from the virus here at home at this time. ‘The spirit of generosity that impels our medical and healthcare staff to care for our assisted-pilgrims at Lourdes each year is still to be seen in our hospitals, in our doctor’s surgeries and in many settings across our communities during this pandemic. It is that loving care, that fraternal solidarity, which is made manifest in the service and care of others.’
‘May Mary, Mother of Mercy and Health of the Sick, who through St Bernadette invites us to come to Jesus through her maternal care, sustain us all in these times and bring healing and peace to those who need it most.’
Virtual Pilgrimage Lourdes2Clogher
Bishop Duffy encourages people to join once more in a virtual pilgrimage to Lourdes this year. In 2020, the #Lourdes2Clogher pilgrimage online was extremely successful, attracting many thousands of people to join in the Masses and other devotions over the course of the days when many of them would have been at the Marian shrine in the southwest of France. The dates will be the same this year – 5-11 July. In advance of that, it is planned that there will be series of liturgies and other prayer moments, beginning on 11 February, the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, which is also the World Day of the Sick.
Details of the virtual pilgrimage will be posted on www.clogherdiocese.ie and on the Diocese of Clogher Facebook page.
A Possible Future Pilgrimage
The possibility of a small pilgrimage to Lourdes later in the year by a representative group to bring the prayers and petitions of people here to Mary’s shrine, is being considered. This would obviously be determined on the basis of the public health situation both in Ireland and in France at that time.
Notes for Editors:
- The Diocese of Clogher encompasses all of County Monaghan, virtually all of County Fermanagh and portions of Counties Tyrone, Donegal, Louth and Cavan. There are 37 parishes and 85 churches, served by 53 priests and 1 deacon. The Catholic population of the diocese is approximately 88,000. Bishop Larry Duffy is the Bishop of Clogher and the Cathedral church is St Macartan’s Cathedral in Monaghan town.
- For further information on the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes visit Sanctuary Our Lady of Lourdes (lourdes-france.org)