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