St Bernadette

Thursday - Hospitalité Mass

We celebrated our Opening Mass, and we have seen the International Mass – two great expressions of belonging to the Church of our Diocesan Family and of the Universality of the Catholic Church expressed in many languages.

Today’s Pilgrimage Mass, in honour of St Bernadette who experienced the apparitions of Our Lady that give so much meaning to this holy place, focuses on our sick pilgrims and on those who care for them.

The Lourdes Hospitalité is the group of wonderful volunteers – both on our Pilgrimage this week, and in Lourdes throughout the Pilgrimage season each year – who give their time freely to care for sick pilgrims.

The world sees sickness as a problem to be avoided. For most people, sickness is not a choice and it can be a Cross to carry. But the sufferings of our Servant King, Jesus Christ, have given new meaning and purpose to suffering in our human condition.

The Gospels show Christ to have a profound love and concern for those who live with sickness of any kind, and he brings not only healing but dignity and wholeness.

Lourdes is often seen as a place of miracles. It is said that you don’t always return from Lourdes with the miracle you wanted, but the power of God at work in you can be a miracle that you did not expect.

Today, we thank God for our pilgrims who work to bring comfort and care to our sick pilgrims. We also thank our sick pilgrims for their presence among us and for reminding us of the dignity of life in all stages and in every circumstance. Sometimes, seeing the needs of others gives us more reason to be grateful for the blessings in our own lives.

We do not forget the many people who devote their lives to caring for family members in their own homes.


Fr Tom Farrell gave the Homily:

"My predecessor at Christ the King in Coventry was Fr Eamon Clarke.

"He was an avid reader.  He would devour books and usually get through two newspapers every day.

"But even with his love of books and newspapers, he would say, “don’t buy a newspaper at the weekend.  They don’t deserve to be called newspapers.  They are full of holidays, cars, fashion and home improvements – lifestyle.  Telling things have to be perfect for us to be happy.  A perfect lifestyle.”

"Things are probably even more challenging now with the growth of social media, bringing picture perfect images and fake news."

Read full Homily

Photo Gallery: Hospitalité Mass

Thursday - Holy Hour

We joined together at the Rosary Basilica for Adoration and the anointing of the sick.


Fr Alex Taylor gave the homily:

As we near the end of our time together, just to say I’ve found my first time on the diocesan pilgrimage a very moving experience. Why? Because of the many encounters I’ve had with our pilgrims.


It would seem a good idea to focus this reflection on the theme of encounter, because encounter moves us. Encounter is at the heart of who we are as he People of God.


Pilgrimage to Lourdes is itself founded on an encounter. The encounter between Our Lady and a young girl called Bernadette. This type of encounter we call an apparition. The first of these was on February 11th, 1858. God’s intention in sending Mary to Bernadette 166 years ago was this… to lead us to encounter Jesus and to help us to live the gospel. 


In the thirteenth apparition of March 2nd, Mary’s invitation to Bernadette, which forms the theme of this year's pilgrimage encounter, Mary asks: Go and tell the priest that the people are to come here in procession, and they are to build a church here.

Everything about these days of pilgrimage is to do with these words of invitation, come in procession. We are the pilgrims who make the church that Mary asked for in this place. 

Read full homily

Photo Gallery: Holy Hour and Anointing