The 2013 pilgrimage will be 23rd-30th August. Posters are now available to download - see below.
The 2012 Pilgrimage took place 24th-30th August. Photos and report below.
Bishop Peter's pilgrimage homilies are avalable as downloads here - they should appear at the top of the listing.
The Report below is from Matt Betts, Chief Brancardier.
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2012 saw us take part in another great Pilgrimage to Lourdes with the Catholic Association.
Our diocese was led by Bishop Peter Doyle, with various people from across our diocese attending for the first time. We also had a number of young helpers this year who found a place of great hope and love - all of these young helpers worked in mixed teams throughout Lourdes.
One of the highlights during the week for many of our young helpers was the Youth Service that took place at the beautiful and stunning Lac de Lourdes. The service was led by Bishop Peter for all the CA Pilgrimage youth. As the sun set, we were all together in prayer and thanks to Our Lady for our Pilgrimage.
Our Pilgrimage to Lourdes is one of the very few opportunities to meet and pray as a diocese. Pilgrims, of course, come for their very own personal reasons; some to petition the intercession of Our Blessed Mother with her Son, for a particular request, others to say ‘thank you’ for blessings already received, some out of curiosity, some to re-kindle a faith that was lost and many too, who value a return visit to deepen their faith.
Particularly welcome are our sick or disabled pilgrims, and we hope that visiting the shrine will help them bear the burden of their sufferings. The facilities for our ‘assisted pilgrims’ are first class. There are two state-of-the-art hospitals, appropriately called ‘Accueils’ –‘Houses of Welcome’ and a dedicated team of volunteer doctors, nurses, brancardiers and handmaids, as well as chaplains to assist them.
Many of these are members of the Catholic Association Hospitalité, under whose auspices we travel as a pilgrimage group and they have made a commitment to serve fellow pilgrims in Lourdes on a regular basis.
Bishop Peter was asked before the Pilgrimage to be the new Patron for the Hospitalité and he was with them at their special service. Members of the Hospitalité epitomise the love that the presence of Our Lady inspires at Lourdes. It is a hallowed place where people from all countries and continents are united as children of God and a magnet which draws the young and old, the infirm as well as the strong. In short, all human life comes here and indeed, it is a quiet corner in the Pyrenees where prayers can be said, hopes expressed and life accepted as it is.
The diocese has travelled to Lourdes since 1925 when Bishop Cary-Elwes established the first Diocesan Pilgrimage. It has continued to this day as bishops and people alike recognise it as a great blessing for the diocese. We are very proud of our Pilgrimage to Lourdes and we would like to thank Fr Damien Walne (our Pilgrimage Director) and Bishop Peter for a really wonderful week
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Check the Catholic Association website for further information (indeed, a prodigious amount of information ! - webmaster) about how the Pilgrimage is organised, events that typically take place on pilgrimage, some of our policy documents, and a downloadable brochure produced by Tangney Tours, as well as material from our archives and photo galleries.
Posters for 2013 are now available - in two versions - a basic landscape one with large photos, aimed principally at Assisted Pilgrims, and a "portrait" one with full information. Please help us by displaying one or both of these in your church or school.
For booking forms, printed brochures and further information contact the Director of the Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes, Fr Damien Walne, at 1 Elwes Way, Great Billing, Northampton, NN3 9EA ; phone 01604 406410, or email.
Alternatively, Fr Damien Walne is assisted by a small committee of Lourdes volunteers from Northampton Diocese. The Secretary is Mr Michael Carter from High Wycombe and he is joined by Matt Betts (Chief Brancardier of the CA), Terri Betts, Steve Gill, Paul and Cliona Devereaux. The Assistant Director is Rev. Deacon Michael Fleming from St Gregory's, Northampton. They can all be contacted at Northampton@Catholicassociation.co.uk
At the heart of our Pilgrimage are the assisted pilgrims (or APs) who need care or assistance. Men and women of all ages and backgrounds come to Lourdes as volunteer helpers to answer Mary’s request for people to ‘come in procession’, but more importantly they come in response to the command of her son Jesus to love God and to love our neighbours as ourselves (Gospel of Mark 12:29-31). These volunteer helpers, who are pilgrims themselves, strive to encounter Jesus in each pilgrim, caring for their physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. Northampton Diocese are looking for volunteer helpers, which includes doctors, nurses, and non medical helpers: brancardiers (male) and handmaids (female).
In addition, if you are aged 17-25, you can be a part of the Young Helpers’ Group, (a supervised group staying in a separate hotel) please let us know by emailing(email@example.com). If you are interested in volunteering for the Diocesan Pilgrimage, please email us (firstname.lastname@example.org ).
Volunteer helper forms are now available for (non-medical) male/female helpers here: http://www.catholicassociation.co.uk/pilgrimage/pilg2013.shtml
If accompanied by a relative, spouse, friend or carer, you may choose to stay in a hotel in Lourdes and receive basic support from volunteer helpers. This usually takes the form of wheelchair assistance moving about the town and to services. Otherwise, many of our APs stay in the Accueil, a residential facility where APs receive full-time care from volunteer helpers who work in teams.
For more information contact: email@example.com .
Forms for Assisted Pilgrims will be available on the Catholic Association website from February 2013.