A special service to celebrate the forthcoming diocese Pilgrimage to Lourdes has taken place at St Chad’s Cathedral.

Hundreds of people representing the various groups which are travelling to Lourdes attended today’s Blessing of Hands event, on the feast of Pentecost (Sunday).

It was very moving to see people of all ages go up to the altar steps to have their hands blessed for whatever ministry they may be involved in.

More than 800 people are travelling to Lourdes this year, led by His Grace, Archbishop Bernard Longley.

The pilgrimage will leave on Saturday 26 May and return on Saturday 1 June. It’s theme this year is ‘Do whatever He tells you’.

Today’s Mass was celebrated by Mgr Timothy Menezes with support from several other clergy, including Canon Gerry Breen, Pilgrimage Director.

Musical accompaniment was provided by Jo Boyce, director of CJM Music, and fellow musicians.

During his address Mgr Menezes encouraged everyone to ‘enter into the love and trust of the Holy Trinity’.

“The Blessing of Hands is a sign of service to God and his Church,” he said. “Our hands here are symbolic – the work of service asked of us in Lourdes.”

He added: “Bring your list to Lourdes, then tell people ‘I prayed for you in Lourdes’.”

During the pilgrimage we are aiming to regularly update our website with photographs from Lourdes, thanks to members of the Kenelm Youth Trust team.

More than half of the Pilgrimage is made up of children and young people from schools, parishes and youth groups, and it is one of the biggest gatherings of young people in the Archdiocese.

Lucy Palmer, aged 20, is a volunteer with the Kenelm Youth Trust. This will be her sixth visit to Lourdes.

“I feel great joy, seeing everyone together, helping the pilgrims that go,” said Lucy. “At today’s Mass we are blessed and meet with the pilgrims. We prepare ourselves spiritually.”

Please follow the Lourdes pilgrimage on this website and on Twitter @RCBirmingham
For photos from today's Mass please click here

Birmingham Lourdes Hospitalite
Act of Consecration

Holy Mary, Mother of God, Virgin ever
Immaculate, you appeared eighteen times to
Bernadette at the Grotto in Lourdes, to remind
Christians of what the truths in the Gospel
require of them. You called them to prayer,
penance, the Eucharist and life in the Church.
To answer your call more fully, I consecrate
myself through you to your Son, Jesus.
Make me willing to accept what he said. By the
fervour of my faith, by the conduct of my life in
all aspects, by my devotion to the sick, let me
work with you in the comforting of those who
suffer and in the reconciliation of people, that
the Church may be One and there may be peace
in the world.
All this I ask, confident that you, Our Lady, will
fully answer my prayer.
Blessed be the Holy and Immaculate Conception
of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette, pray for us.