The pilgrimage family of Salford Diocese spent the start of August on a very special and unique journey, as they held their first virtual pilgrimage, marking Lourdes at Home.
Pilgrims were keen to share their experiences with The Catholic Universe: “Of course, we would all like to be in the Grotto itself, but we spent last week united together in prayer, sharing memories of previous pilgrimages and taking a moment to remember those who are no longer with us.”
At the start of the week, Fr Ged shared his hopes for the week: “This year my prayer is that each one of us will allow the spirit of Lourdes to bring to life within us a renewed commitment to serve our brothers and sisters and to serve the Lord.
“On Sunday, Bishop John celebrated our pilgrimage Mass from Salford Cathedral and called on us to consider what Our Lady would ask of us if we were in the Grotto. He suggested that this might be for us to care for each other during this time of pandemic, and to recognise that caring for our brothers and sisters starts with us. He encouraged us to keep the sick close, because they are the most important pilgrims we take with us to Lourdes.”
An emotional video where members of the pilgrimage family shared what Lourdes means to them was shared on Monday evening. Dr Jenny Klimiuk, medical director for the Salford Lourdes pilgrimage, said: “Lourdes is a place of deep spiritual peace and healing and renewal.”
Pilgrim Gwyneth Walker shared her acknowledgement of the unusual circumstances: “I know that we will all be missing each other this week and I’m sure that there will be a few tears as we follow the alternative programme that we have planned; not in the physical company of each other but in our own homes.
“But then, becoming emotional is a normal feeling in Lourdes.”
Next year’s pilgrimage will take place from 30th July – 5th August 2021.
Picture: Candles are seen around a statue of Mary in the grotto at the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in France in this file photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).