The sacred relics of St Bernadette of Lourdes are to visit Shrewsbury and Chester in September as part of a tour of Great Britain.
They will be brought to Shrewsbury Cathedral at 1pm on Tuesday September 13 where they will remain until 9am the following day.
On departing from Shrewsbury Cathedral on Wednesday September 14, the relics will be driven to St Werburgh’s Church in Chester city centre where they will be made available for public veneration from 10am until 4pm.
They will be present at the Cathedral for Mass at 7pm on the Tuesday and at St Werburgh’s for the 12 noon daily Mass the following day.
Members of the public will be invited to enter both venues to venerate the relics and offer silent prayers in their presence.
The Rt Rev. Mark Davies, the Bishop of Shrewsbury, said: “We look forward to the visit of the relics of Saint Bernadette of Lourdes to Shrewsbury and Chester.
“The relics come as an invitation to prayer and to continuing conversion at the end of two years of pandemic and lockdown.
“This pilgrimage will lead us to remember those like Bernadette herself who in poverty and sickness are left on the margins of society.
“The powerful message of her life echoes the Gospel, reminding us of the value of every human person in the sight of Heaven.”
Overall, the relics of St Bernadette will be in England, Scotland and Wales from September 3 until September 30.
The relics involve fragments of two ribs, the saint’s kneecaps, muscle from the right thigh, and other muscle, skin and hair tissue, which are kept in a reliquary.
The tour will give British Catholics the chance to make a personal pilgrimage to the French saint, to venerate her relics and to pray for her intercession.
St Bernadette, whose real name was Marie Bernarde Soubirous, was an illiterate French girl who received apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the age of 14 years.
She suffered grievously from asthma and tuberculosis and died on 16 April 1879 at the age of 35 years. When her body was exhumed in 1909 it was found incorrupt, preserved from decomposition.
Bernadette was beatified in 1925 and canonised by Pope Pius XI as St Maria Bernarde on December 8, 1933, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Today, Lourdes continues to attract about five million pilgrims every year.
The veneration of relics is found in many religions and is rooted in the natural human instinct to treat with reverence anything connected with those we love who have died.
We are delighted to advise you that the Brochure and Booking Form for the 2022 Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes are now available to download from the Brochure & Forms section of this website.
With the lifting of many of the Covid 19 restrictions we are optimistic that, by the time our pilgrimage sets out at the end of July, travelling to France will be even easier. We will, however, be keeping a watchful eye on any possible developments during this time and will post any necessary advice and guidance on this website, should the need arise.
The Youth section of the pilgrimage has been restructured so all requests for information packs and booking forms for volunteers between the ages of 16 to 22 years should be directed to the Shrewsbury Youth Mission Team at [email protected]
We look forward to welcoming all pilgrims and volunteers once again, especially our assisted pilgrims, to share in the usual full programme of Masses, processions and ceremonies which are such an important part of our time in Lourdes.
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 01565 633040.
The Rector of the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes, Mons. Olivier Ribadeau Dumas, has issued a document detailing plans to prepare Lourdes for the next century. His message can be read here
I am delighted to announce that after much thought and reflection Bishop Mark has appointed Siobhan Cartwright as the new President of the Hospitality in succession to John Campbell. All of you will know Siobhan who has been associated with our Pilgrimage for well over twenty years. She co-ordinates the support of our assisted pilgrims in the hotels and has also been secretary of the Diocesan Hospitality. She is deeply committed to the message of Lourdes and to our Diocesan Pilgrimage. I really look forward to working with her in the future for the good of all who are part of our Shrewsbury Pilgrimage Family. I know Siobhan is shocked but deeply honoured by her appointment. Please keep her very much in your prayers.
PILGRIMAGE MANAGEMENT TEAM
Bishop Mark has also agreed to the appointment of a Management Team to support me in my work as Pilgrimage Director. This will be comprised of all key personnel who lead different aspects of our Pilgrimage and I am very grateful to Bishop Mark for agreeing to this. The Team is:
Fr David Long Pilgrimage Director
Siobhan Cartwright President of the Hospitality
Phil Malone Pilgrimage Administrator
Dr John McKay Chief Medical Officer
Nuala Fitzmaurice Matron
Richard Emsley Chief Brancardier
Sandy Fairley Youth Pilgrimage Director
Andrew O’Brien Diocesan Safeguarding Officer
Fr Chris Matthews Diocesan MC and Pilgrimage Liturgy Co-ordinator
Fr David Long
It is with sadness that I have to inform you that due to illness John Cambpell has had to step down from his role as President of the Hospitality. As you all know John has been an incredible servant to our pilgrimage for so many years. Until a couple of years ago he was also Chief Brancardier and has been President of the Hospitality for twenty years. During that time John has been a wonderful smiling presence around the Pilgrimage gently guiding us and encouraging us all. He brought incredible commitment and generosity to all the roles he has taken up in service of the Pilgrimage. Lourdes and our Pilgrimage has been such a part of John’s life that it is hard to imagine him not at the forefront of things in the future. I do hope that in time his health will improve sufficiently for him to be part of the pilgrimage where hopefully we can look after him rather than him looking after us. Please keep John and his wife Vera in your prayers at this difficult time.
Bishop Mark will appoint a new President in the New Year. If members of the Hospitality wish to nominate someone that they think should be considered for this important position please send their name directly to me at St Vincent’s, Tatton St, Knutsford WA16 6HR before 21 December with the reason why you are suggesting the person.
Fr David Long
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