It was a sight to behold in Hednesford today (Sun 1 July) as the faithful gathered for the annual Diocesan Pilgrimage.

With a bright blue sky, sunshine - and some welcome cloud cover at times! - the Shrine honouring Our Lady of Lourdes could not have looked more beautiful.

It was also the first Pilgrimage for Fr Jeremy Howard in his role as Parish Priest.

Hundreds of people gathered throughout the afternoon to take part in private devotions and grotto visits before the public rosary and Marian hymns.

Bishop Terence Brain, formerly of the Archdiocese of Birmingham and now retired from the Diocese of Salford, was the principal celebrant of Mass.

He was joined by clergy from across the Diocese, who concelebrated Mass and gave out the Sacrament of the Sick.

Today’s Gospel focused on the Wedding at Cana, where Jesus turned water into wine.

Drawing from this, Bishop Brain talked about family in his Homily. He encouraged the congregation to make the forthcoming World Meeting of Families in Dublin ‘one of your beads’ when saying the Rosary.

“Family is at the centre of Our Lady’s vocation,” he said, later adding “say a prayer for all the families in the world”.
The Shrine is Grade II listed by Historic England, and is a replica of the grotto at Lourdes. It was built between 1927 and 1934.

Next year will see the 50th anniversary of the Hednesford Pilgrimage, and plans are already underway to mark the milestone year.

Photo gallery

Hednesford Pilgrimage