This weekend ends the month of October which is the month specially dedicated to Mary and the Rosary. It seems an appropriate time to think about Lourdes. The events in Lourdes took place 160 years ago but they are as relevant today as ever. At the first apparition on 11th February 1858 Bernadette prayed the Rosary with the “beautiful lady”. Mary appeared to Bernadette 18 times, she asked for prayer and penance, she asked Bernadette to tell the priests that people are to come in procession and to build a church and on the 16th apparition she revealed herself as the Immaculate Conception.
Since then Lourdes has been a place of pilgrimage and is visited by people of all religions and from all over the world. It is a place of love and prayer, hope and renewal, equality, compassion and friendship. Each year the Bishop of Lourdes has a theme for pilgrims on which to focus. The theme this year was “Do whatever He tells you”, Mary’s instructions at the Marriage Feast of Cana and in 2019, from the Magnificat, “The Almighty has done great things for me”.
The Salford Diocesan Pilgrimage is let by Bishop John Arnold and for the last four years a small group from our parish has joined the Diocese. The week is a very special experience, as well as spiritually renewing; it is a week of fun, laughter and tears and a great sense of belonging to the Diocesan family. The sick are at the centre of the pilgrimage and are cared for by many volunteers of all ages. The liturgies are beautifully planned and there is time for quiet, private prayer, for socialising in the many bars and cafe, for shopping and to visit other places.
If you would like to know more about the pilgrimage or are considering coming in 2019 there will be a meeting in the presbytery on Monday November 21st at 7pm when we will talk about the week’s activities and organisation, travel and cost. Please come if you are interested, there will no commitment.”
Margaret Donnelly (2018 group co-ordinator)