Offaly community make 50th pilgrimage to Lourdes
The pilgrims from the Ardagh and Clonmacnois diocese headed for Lourdes for their 50th annual pilgrimage at the weekend.
Pilgrimages to the Marian shrine in Lourdes, France started in 1859 following the apparition of the Immaculate Conception to Bernadette Soubirous and has since become a major place of Roman Catholic Pilgrimage with approximately 5 million pilgrims annually.
Many pilgrims go to Lourdes to get a break from busy lives in search for inner peace. Others experiencing health challenges go there seeking miraculous healings, with some requiring helpers or ongoing medical or nursing support on a 24 hour basis.
The Ardagh & Clonmacnoise Pilgrimage was led by Bishop Francis Duffy, spiritual director Rev. Mons Bernard Noonan and Rev Fr. Michael Scanlon, Chaplain to Assisted Pilgrims & Co- ordinator of Pilgrimage Staff.
This year over 60 assisted pilgrims travelled from parishes across the Diocese and stayed in the specially adapted Acueil Notre Dame in the heart of the Sanctuary in Lourdes where they were assisted by a team of volunteers made up of Youth Helpers from the Secondary Schools in the Diocese and many volunteers including Nurses, Handmaids, Brancardiers and
Doctors from the various Parishes.
Over 100 other pilgrims went to Lourdes and stayed in local hotels while they attended the various ceremonies of the 5 day trip.
Over the last 50 Pilgrimages people from every Parish in the Diocese enjoyed this trip and were enriched by the shared experience. To celebrate the significant occasion there will be a special Mass and Reception in St Mel’s Cathedral, Longford on Sunday June 10 th at 3pm. All former Pilgrims and Staff are invited to attend and join in this special occasion.