Details of the FINAL
sessions are available here
. We remind you that training is mandatory for all who wish to offer their services as volunteers during the pilgrimage.
The talented musicians and singers who offer their services during the pilgrimage add greatly to the various Masses and ceremonies during the week in Lourdes. If you would like to be part of this team Dominic and Francesca O'Connor Robinson would be delighted to hear from you. They can be contacted directly at [email protected]
and [email protected]
The Lourdes Nurses wish to thank Fr Peter Montgomery for hosting a Wine and Cheese evening recently at Blessed John Henry Newman Parish, Latchford in aid of the Lourdes Nurses Fund. The event was held in memory of his late mother and raised the incredible sum of £951.
Thank you to all who attended for your great generosity and support for a most enjoyable and sociable evening.
Pilgrims who may find difficulty walking distances in Lourdes may wish to hire a scooter. Peter Whittam has hired one in the past and can be contacted on [email protected]
if anyone would like advice on hiring.
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.