Cancellation of Birmingham Lourdes Pilgrimage 2021

It is with great sadness that I must communicate to you the decision to cancel plans for the Archdiocese to travel on pilgrimage to Lourdes in the coming year.

This decision has been made in consultation with Archbishop Bernard and the full pilgrimage committee.  The reasons for this decision flow from the uncertainties surrounding the continuing Covid 19 pandemic. 

The safety of all pilgrims, but especially that of the frail and sick, has always been assured by our dedicated medical team.  At present they are all working with the added demands of the pandemic, and it is doubtful that they would have the capacity to complete the necessary assessments that always precede our Lourdes pilgrimage.

Our schools and youth have played an increasingly important and much appreciated part on our pilgrimages in recent years.  As we are all aware, schools and young people have been subject to serious interruption since the beginning of the pandemic. We therefore fear that they would find it difficult to commit to a pilgrimage in 2021.

The Lourdes pilgrimage committee has therefore come to the decision that we cannot continue with arrangements for a pilgrimage in the coming year.  Last year many joined us on a ‘virtual pilgrimage to Lourdes.’  We plan to provide the same in 2021.

Let us commend ourselves, those who are sick, and those who mourn to Our Lady of Lourdes and her son Jesus Christ.

Bishop David McGough

(Chairman of the Birmingham Lourdes Pilgrimage Committee)

           

All enquiries to the pilgrimage office: [email protected]

Our theme for 2020 comes from the 16th apparition when Bernadette asked ‘the lady’ who she was.

‘I am the Immaculate Conception’ was her reply.

These extraordinary words remind us that God preserved the Virgin Mary from sin so that she could be the Mother of His Son – the Word made flesh.

Our pilgrimage takes place during this ‘Year of the Word’ as we focus on the God who speaks.

Jesus himself tells us: ‘Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it’ (Lk.8.21).

The life of St Bernadette gives us an example of how we may actively respond to the God who speaks to each one of us.

2020 will be a special pilgrimage for the Birmingham Diocese as we celebrate the canonisation of St John Henry Newman by joining with other pilgrimages from the United Kingdom in a Mass of thanksgiving.

Pope Benedict, when speaking of the joy of Mary, the Mother of God, said: ‘The joy born of the Word can now expand to all those who, by faith, let themselves be changed by God’s word’ (Verbum Domini 124).

We commend to the intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes, St Bernadette and St John Henry Newman all of our pilgrims and those who make this pilgrimage possible.

Canon Gerry Breen (RIP)

Pilgrimage Director