Details of the first sessions to be arranged are available here
. The list will be updated when further dates and venues are confirmed.
To all members of the Shrewsbury Hospitalite.
At the last AGM we voted to begin a working party to look at our constitution and ensure that it is fit for purpose for the future. We have met a couple of times and have come up with some draft proposals. We will meet again at St Mary of the Angels Parish Hall, Chester Road, Childer Thornton, Ellesmere Port, CH66 1QJ on Saturday 12th May at 1.30 pm. Exit J5 M53 and head in direction of Chester A41. Church is 200 yds over the second set of traffic lights beside a car wash on right hand side. Anyone who wishes to join us will be very welcome.
If you would like to receive a copy of the existing constitution and the suggested changes or, if you are unable to join us but want to make a comment, please email me at [email protected] and I will ensure that your points are fed back. We hope to have a final proposal ready to put before the AGM in September. I apologise to anyone who did not receive notice of the last meeting. It may not have gone out as widely as we intended.
After many years of service as our Chief Brancardier, John Campbell has decided to retire. On your behalf I want to thank John for his wonderful years of Service to our Pilgrimage; his kindness and friendly manner has been a source of encouragement to us all and his commitment and dedication to Lourdes and the care of the sick has been an amazing example to us of true Christian Service and love. I am delighted that John will continue as President of the Shrewsbury Hospitality and will still be at the heart of our Diocesan Pilgrimage.
I am delighted that Richard Emsley has agreed to take on the role of Chief Brancardier. Richard is well known to all of you and has been prominent amongst the Branc Team for many years. I want to thank Richard for his generosity in accepting this very important position and am sure you will all offer him all the help and support that he will need.
Richard and I have decided to restructure the Senior Branc Team in order to provide a clear line of command and structure that will help the smooth operation of the Pilgrimage. Full details of the new structure will be shared with you in the near future. For now, Richard asked that we have two deputy Chief Brancardiers to assist him and so I have appointed Chris Walsh and James Walker to these new roles. New responsibilities will be assigned to our present assistant chief brancs and once those have been agreed I will let you have details of the whole Senior Team and their responsibilities.
With grateful thanks for all your are doing for our Pilgrimage.
Well I think everyone is home now safely despite some delays for the flights and some of the coaches from Lille. It seems to have been a very successful pilgrimage except for the various delays to the journey. We are looking at various options for next year to do all we can to try and avoid delays and provide as smooth a journey as possible whether your chosen way of travel is by air or overland. We are of course in the hands of those who provide our flights, coaches, trains etc. I would welcome any constructive thoughts about travel as we try to plan for 2018.
I first of all want to say a huge “thank you” to all our doctors, nurses and volunteers as well as our musicians for all you did to ensure that this year’s pilgrimage was a great success. I would particularly thank those who stayed up into the early hours on our first night (many after a long journey themselves) to ensure that our VIP’s were settled into the Accueil as quickly and smoothly as possible.
We were blessed with good weather this year which I think really helped us especially with the processions and grotto Mass. I have had so many positive comments from pilgrims who (apart from the travel problems) found the Pilgrimage very well organized and a really moving and spiritual experience. That is thanks to you who give so generously of your time and enthusiasm; so “thank you” again!
Our thoughts are already turning to next year and we are considering a number of possibilities to help our journey. At this stage I would emphasise that these are only thoughts and no decisions have been taken but I would value your own thoughts and reactions. In recent years more and more of our VIPs have flown until this year when practically all of them flew. Each VIP requires varying amounts of assistance at the airport and especially boarding the plane. Inevitably this can take a long time and is often one of the main causes of delays. In the not too distant past only VIP’s who did not require assistance flew all others travelled overland where there are plenty of volunteers to help and doctors and nurses to care for them on the journey. We are considering reverting to this in the future. For the overland journey we are also looking at leaving the Diocese earlier in the day so that we can arrive in Calais around midnight. We would then join a chartered TGV for Lourdes. That would mean that the train journey would provide the opportunity for undisturbed sleep and we would arrive in Lourdes early that morning. If we can get more people to choose the overland journey we can bring the costs down significantly. If you travel independently please consider joining the Pilgrimage for the overland journey; another 50-100 people on the train would make an enormous difference to the price and all pilgrims would benefit.
I look forward to hearing any constructive comments you have to make about these ideas. They are just thoughts and I am not even sure at this stage they are possible. I am anxious that we do all we can to ensure the smoothest possible journey for everyone, especially our VIPs so your thoughts and ideas would be welcome and valued.
Fr David Long
We are always pleased to hear from any doctors or nurses who would like to join the pilgrimage medical team. For more information please contact Fr David Long, the Pilgrimage Director, through this address or on 0161 480 2489.