Mary, Mother of the Church

Monday – Grotto Mass

The Grotto is a central focus of Lourdes. It commemorates the place where Our Blessed Lady appeared to Bernadette Soubirous and called her to pray and she said: Go and tell the priests to build a chapel here and that people should come in procession. Fulfilling the desire expressed by Our Lady to Bernadette, we have come in prayer to this Holy Place so associated with prayer and healing.

By custom, we gather here for this Mass with other English-speaking pilgrims who are in Lourdes at this time, especially pilgrims from the Diocese of Middlesbrough and the Society of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Today's Mass was celebrated by Bishop Terence Drainey, the Bishop of Middlesbrough.

Throughout this Mass, think of the many prayer intentions you have brought from people at home, or those you wish to pray for and can tell, on your return, I remembered you at the Grotto this week.

Photo Gallery

Lourdes Pilgrimage 2023, Concelebrated Mass at the Grotto and Diocesan Photograph

Monday - Reconciliation Service

This year, our Penitential Service takes place near to the beginning of our Pilgrimage Week. It is not easy for anybody to go to Confession, but in this act of God’s mercy, we know that we are not alone. The priests and bishops who are with us on pilgrimage (who also know what it is to go to Confession) are instruments of God’s mercy and wish to support you in coming before the Lord and leaving our burdens with the Lord, hearing the words ‘Through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace and I absolve you from your sins…’

If you can trust in God’s goodness, and want to get the most out of what this pilgrimage week offers, be confident and be encouraged to come to Confession and celebrate the mercy of God as it is offered to you.

Do not be afraid….familiar words from the Bible. In this context, do not be afraid if it has been a long time since you last celebrated this Sacrament, last went to Confession. If that is the case, or if you don’t know where to start, please take the opportunity that is offered you this week, to come to Confession, and just be honest and say: It’s been a long time and I don’t know where to start… and the priest will guide you gently through the Sacrament, leading to forgiveness of your sins.

Mgr Timothy Menezes, Dean of St Chad's Cathedral, led today's Service. In his Homily he remembered Bishop David McGough, a much-loved participant of the Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes who recently passed away.

It would be strange if Bishop David McGough were too far from our thoughts this week on the Diocesan Lourdes Pilgrimage. Bishop David has been a part of this pilgrimage for many years and he has been a respected priest and bishop of our Archdiocese for over 50 years of ministry.

A lot of people still remember Bishop David as their Parish Priest at Christ the King in Kingstanding in Birmingham and then for many years at Our Lady & All Saints in Stourbridge. Then as Episcopal Vicar and subsequently as Bishop with responsibility for the parishes of Staffordshire and the Black Country, it is quite possible that a good number of the young people on our pilgrimage were confirmed by Bishop David McGough.

He died recently and he is missed this week.

Read Homily in full

During the Service many people took the opportunity to attend confession, and explore prayer stations developed by our young pilgrims.

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Lourdes Pilgrimage 2023, Penitential Service

Monday - Indoor Procession at the Rosary Basilica

Due to inclement weather in Lourdes (rain, hail, thunder and lightning!) on Monday night, the Torchlight Procession was moved indoors to the Rosary Basilica.

Although lit candles were not allowed it remained a very special occasion as hundreds and hundreds of pilgrims, from numerous countries, gathered in prayer to Our Lady.

Young pilgrims from across our Diocesan schools played a key role in accompanying Mary as she was processed around the Basilica.

Photo Gallery

Lourdes Pilgrimage 2023, Indoor Procession at Rosary Basilica