Over 2,000 people will travel to Lourdes next week and celebrate 60 years of the Archdiocese of Dublin’s Pilgrimage to the shrine. The first Diocesan pilgrimage was made by boat and plane in August 1949.
The pilgrimage begins on Monday 7th September and finishes on the 12th. This year, 45 Diocesan priests will accompany Archbishop Diarmuid Martin on the pilgrimage, 168 sick pilgrims will travel, helped by 620 volunteers. There will be 50 nurses, 8 doctors and students from 15 secondary schools in the Diocese. The Diocesan office of Evangelisation and the social care agency of the Diocese, Crosscare will also be represented. The Dublin Lourdes choir, under the direction of Director Fr. Pat O’ Donoghue will once again provide music for the pilgrims.
Archbishop Martin said the sick were at the heart of the pilgrimage, yet it offered so much hope to the troubled that also traveled to seek healing. He said in the six decades of this pilgrimage, Lourdes continued to bring together and have an impact on so many people — from strong believers to the cynical, yet all go away with a unique experience
Pilgrimage Director, Fr. John Gilligan paid tribute to the ongoing hard work and dedication of the volunteers who made the pilgrimage such a success every year. “The dedication of so many, particularly young people to helping the sick and infirm make this pilgrimage is an annual beacon of hope and solace to us all in the Diocese.” said Fr. Gilligan, “Particularly this year, when so many people are facing their own individual hardships and economic struggles, the selflessness of the volunteers is uplifting.
The programme for the pilgrimage opens with Mass of Welcome with sick pilgrims on Monday evening. For the following five days pilgrims will participate in five days of prayer and celebration of the Jubilee Year including the torchlight Marian Procession, Mass of the Anointing of the Sick and a Youth Mass with Sick pilgrims.