When fourteen year old Aidan Sullivan from Leeds, watched TV footage of a previous Leeds Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes he expressed to his parents how keen he was to go himself and how he would like to help the other pilgrims. Unfortunately for Aidan, health issues make it impossible for him to undertake the pilgrimage travelling overland with the youth section of the pilgrimage.
His mother Audrey explored other options in the hope that they could find a way for him to participate. It was decided that only option for Aidan was to travel by air with the rest of the pilgrims and be accompanied by his mother, which would more than double the cost.
The family discussed their plight with their former parish priest, Father Eamon McGough of St Mary‘s, Rothwell. Father Eamon is a great supporter of the Catenians and he decided that an appeal would be made to members of the Parish, the St Vincent de Paul Society and the City of Leeds Catenians to assist with the cost of their pilgrimage.
Happily, through the efforts of his mother and the generosity of all concerned, Aidan’s trip is being made possible in July.
Aidan’s father Andrew is the Lay Chaplain at Notre Dame Sixth Form College in Leeds, and will be taking a group of students on the Diocesan Pilgrimage at the same time. Thus, Aidan and his mother will be able to meet up with them for times of prayer and Mass, as well as volunteering to join them in helping fellow pilgrims with mobility problems and with running errands.
Despite his health issues, Aidan is currently learning to play the organ, and is a member of the Cinema Organ Society; he often travels to Saltaire to listen to recitals on the Wurlitzer, which he thinks is amazing.
In a ‘Thank You’ letter to the City of Leeds (137) Circle, he has promised that whilst there, he will pray at the grotto in Lourdes for the members of the Catenian Association and the other groups that have made his pilgrimage possible and, if he manages to find an organ, he will entertain his fellow pilgrims and their helpers.
‘We are absolutely delighted that we were able to help and look forward to hearing about Aidan’s travels on his return,’ said a spokesman for the City of Leeds Catenians.