Fr Jeremy Howard has been appointed to the role of Lourdes Pilgrimage Director with immediate effect.

The role, by appointment of Archbishop Bernard Longley, has been vacant following the death of Canon Gerry Breen in December 2019.

Initial preparations are already underway for the Diocesan Lourdes Pilgrimage 2022, which will hopefully see a return, in-person, to the holy site.

Fr Jeremy is currently parish priest at Our Lady of Lourdes in Hednesford, Staffordshire, which is home to the Diocesan shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes.

He has been there for four years and so hosts the annual Hednesford Pilgrimage every July.

“It seems a natural extension for me to take on the role of Lourdes Pilgrimage Director given my current role, and I am very enthusiastic and happy about the appointment,” said Fr Jeremy.

“I have a lot of experience of hospital ministry and have recently stepped down as one of the Archbishop’s healthcare advisors after 21 years.

“Working with sick pilgrims is a big part of the Lourdes Pilgrimage and I am looking forward to being involved in such important work.”

Fr Jeremy’s new role will have a focus on the development of the diocesan Lourdes programme. He will work alongside all parties involved in the diocesan Pilgrimage as well as Pilgrimage Directors at dioceses across the UK, and of course the team at the Lourdes Sanctuary itself.

“It is a great comfort knowing we have a very good diocesan Pilgrimage team in place, and I work with a lot of them already given my work at Hednesford,” said Fr Jeremy.

“I am very much looking forward to a physical return to Lourdes but of course we will be taking a cautionary approach and will be seeking advice from medical professionals along the way.”

Fr Jeremy is also chaplain to the Birmingham French-speaking Catholic community and celebrates Mass once a month for them. He enjoys studying languages and experiencing different cultures and treasures the international nature of the Shrine at Lourdes.

See the latest information on the Lourdes Pilgrimage 2022

A reflection on Hospital Chaplaincy with Fr Jeremy