Lourdes Pilgrimage 2024

Press the play button on the top right of the image above to watch breathtaking drone footage of the Sanctuary at Lourdes. Courtesy of Drone Presta. 

Monday 27 May to Saturday 1 June 2024

The annual Diocesan pilgrimage will be returning to Lourdes under the leadership of His Grace, Archbishop Bernard Longley and Bishop David Evans.

Please pray for all those considering joining this year’s pilgrimage to Lourdes, as they will be praying for you.

You can view photos and other coverage from the 2023 pilgrimage under the Lourdes Daily box below.

For emails with news and updates on this pilgrimage as well as future pilgrimages and all things Lourdes, please sign up to our Lourdes mailing list:

Lourdes Pilgrimage Mailing List

To enquire about this year's pilgrimage please contact Kath White: 0121 230 6288 (office hours 9am – 5pm Monday – Friday) or via email [email protected]

'Why Lourdes?'

In a series of short videos pilgrims share their experiences of why they made the journey to Lourdes, as we look ahead to this year's Diocesan Pilgrimage.

From school students to carers, nurses and doctors, all of our volunteers play a crucial role in delivering a successful pilgrimage. Could you be one this year?

Watch! Videos will be added over the coming weeks.

Video Four: Shelagh, Emily and Stephanie talk about their roles as Carers whilst in Lourdes.

Doctors, nurses and carers volunteer their time – along with young people from across our schools – to look after the assisted pilgrims (those who may require support with their personal or medical care or transit around during the pilgrimage) attending Lourdes.

Video Three: Husband and wife Kevin and Jane Goodyear talk about their years of service at the Lourdes Pilgrimage. 

During the 2023 Pilgrimage they each received the Benemerenti medal for their service to the Catholic Church.

The couple, from Our Lady of the Angels parish, Nuneaton, encourage everyone who has the opportunity to go to Lourdes to take it.

Video Two: Some of our young people and a member of staff from St Joseph's College, Trent Vale, Stoke-on-Trent, share their experiences of taking on the role of a hospitalier (helper).

Video One: Three of our Diocesan schools are represented in this video as students and a teacher share their experience of Lourdes.

Watch! Archbishop Bernard welcomes pilgrims at the beginning of the 2023 pilgrimage

Is Our Lady calling you to give to others?

Answer that call and sign up to volunteer as part of our non-medical team of Hospitaliers (Handmaid - female non-medical helper, Brancardier - male non-medical helper).

Just giving your time to help and give in the simplest way ensures that those who travel on the pilgrimage as an assisted pilgrim (VIPs) can participate fully in the pilgrimage and experience the love of God through the care, love and friendship that they receive.

You don't need any special skills or qualifications and you'll be placed in a working team of like-minded volunteers under the guidance of an experienced team leader on a rota devised by the heads of section.

For many the experience of volunteering is life-changing. Spending time with the pilgrims and enabling them to feel part of the Birmingham Lourdes family is both fulfilling and rewarding and the reason why many come back year after year.  We hope that you will join us in Lourdes, we promise it is an experience you will never forget.

What is a Hospitalier Volunteer?

A non-medical volunteer 16 years of age upwards who will working alongside other volunteers alike, providing pilgrims less fortunate than themselves help and care so that they can experience a Lourdes pilgrimage that they would struggle to experience if they travelled to Lourdes independently. 

What does a week of a Hospitalier Volunteer involve?

The list of jobs and duties you are involved in throughout your working during the Lourdes pilgrimage is endless, but here's an outline of some of the jobs you will be involved in:

  • Assisting Accueil* and hotel pilgrims on their journeys to and from Lourdes: This could be a helping hand in the check-in areas inside the airport, assisting the pilgrim through the airport and into the aircraft cabin and to their seat.  Assist the pilgrim during the flight with food and drink or personal belongings such as hand luggage or outer clothing garments e.g. coats and jackets.
  • Move and load pieces of luggage and equipment.  Prepare wheelchairs for use during the week, ensuing they have all the added requirements for the pilgrims comfort e.g. blankets, cushions and waterproofs.
  • As part of a mixed team (male and female hospitaliers) assist the pilgrims movement from A to B. For example to and from venues for our pilgrimage Masses and services, around the focal points of the Sanctuary and those within the town of Lourdes in connection to the life and story of St Bernadette.  Also to the local shops, bars and cafes of which there are many sitting in close proximity to the Sanctuary entrance.  As part of the movement of pilgrims we do offer a 'rolling service' to pilgrims staying in one of our pilgrimage hotels who need a wheelchair or an arm to walk down to the Sanctuary.  This duty could be one of your tasks during your pilgrimage working week.
  • To accompany a member of our Archdiocesan Clergy during distribution of the Blessed Sacrament.
  • Serve our pilgrims in their allocated restaurant in the Accueil Notre Dame.  Your allocated team will at some point during pilgrimage week work during a Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner or Supper service. This involves the setting of tables before each meal, serving the pilgrim their meal, cleaning down the tables after service and washing up. You maybe required to assist a pilgrim with their food and drink.
  • Serve our Accueil pilgrims, volunteers and when invited the wider pilgrimage light refreshments including the making and serving of drinks and accompanying snacks. Clearing away and washing up.
  • As a part of your allocated mixed team, take a joint responsibility along with the whole wider volunteer group of the ongoing high standards of hygiene and cleanliness in our allocated areas of the Accueil Notre Dame. This includes the making of pilgrims beds, cleaning of their ensuite facilities and bedrooms.  Cleaning of the pilgrimage kitchen area and public areas used jointly by our pilgrims and volunteers.
  • Work as a part of a small team of volunteers in the 'Pilgrimage Kitchen'.  From here we provide light refreshments to pilgrims and volunteers and also cater to our Accueil pilgrims supplementary or special dietary and hydration needs.
  • During the week attend to small amounts of laundry in the shared laundry facility within the interior of the Accueil Notre Dame.
  • Subject to prior notice before pilgrimage departure be part of the Pilgrimage Procession team.  This involves having a formal role representing the Archdiocese when we are invited by the Lourdes Sanctuary officials to lead one of the two daily processions within the Sanctuary. These being the Blessed Sacrament Procession and Blessing of the Sick at 5pm and Marian Torchlight Procession at 9pm.
  • Be a listener and prayer companion: Listening is a vital service in Lourdes.  Pilgrims feel that Lourdes is a place that where they can talk to others and offload and you could be that person that they feel comfortable to do so with. To be able to share, chat and pray with our pilgrims is an honour and a wonderful, yet humbling, experience during your Lourdes volunteering week.

We ask that you respect that all jobs around the personal care of our pilgrims be undertaken and completed by our Nursing and Medical Team. This is to ensure your safety and that of the pilgrims within our care.

*Accueil means welcome in French, and it is the specially provisioned accommodation for assisted pilgrims at the Sanctuary of Lourdes.

Apply now!

To find out more about volunteering on the 2024 pilgrimage click the link and complete the application form: 

Hospitalier Applications

You can also register your interest by contacting Sarah Hickman - Chief Handmaid via [email protected]

or Kevin Boyle - Chief Brancardier via [email protected]

Lucas and Hannah on volunteering at Lourdes

Making new friends

The "Lourdes Moment"