Lourdes Pilgrimage 2021
A Letter from the Pilgrimage Director, Fr Phillip Hall
It was in March this year that with much regret I had to announce the postponement of the 82nd Leeds Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes in July. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping across the world so quickly, along with the corresponding very high levels of risk involved travelling to and being in Lourdes, it became absolutely necessary to postpone the pilgrimage. Although this was the right decision, it was taken nonetheless with a heavy heart.
Therefore, dear friends, it falls to me once again to inform you that the Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes in 2021, our 82nd, has been rescheduled to 1st July 2022. Essentially, nothing has changed since March this year when we reviewed the Risk Assessment.
You may be thinking that July is a long time away. However, it is not, as much detailed planning needs to be put in place before we arrive. Across the pilgrimage planning, there is a real sense of sadness that we are collectively unable to attempt the planning and welcome you on pilgrimage. You may well understand that a pilgrimage of our size is complex and takes months in advance to plan before we are ready to open up for bookings. This preparation begins in the early autumn. By Christ-mas, all the necessary plans are in place for the booking forms to be sent and the publicity to par-ishes. After which, there is on-going planning across the whole structure of the pilgrimage.
The difficulty in the planning effects medical, hospitality, schools and clergy. Many of our volunteers that help us in the hospitality, are themselves working directly with the NHS or in the care sector. I have to consider the pilgrimage’s ability to operate safely and also any consequences to these vol-unteers if they contract COVID-19 whilst on pilgrimage. Also, at this time the Risk Assessment is very high for all pilgrims. Further, the schools who every year attend and help on the pilgrimage, particularly with the care of the sick and less able, are also not planning any foreign trips for the academic year. I do not want to paint a bleak picture, especially as the prospect of a vaccine is on the horizon so that we can all go on pilgrimage safely. However, the vaccination programme that will be rolled out, may take many months to complete, and we would not be in a position to reschedule in 2021.
On a wider level, other dioceses as we speak are announcing to their own pilgrimages that they are also postponing until 2022. In our recent Pilgrim Directors Conference, the British Lourdes Medical Association (BLMA) gave very clear guidance as to the clinical risks of making a pilgrimage. Most dioceses, and other affiliated groups are therefore postponing for 2021 until the following year.
A number of you have already received refunds this year. Many of you decided to hold out until 2021. Joe Wash Tours have agreed to refund all the pilgrims who have an existing booking. Therefore, Joe Walsh Tours will arrange the refund of your deposits, or what you have paid up front, directly. I would like to thank Joe Walsh Tours for making the arrangements for refunds very easy for the pilgrims, and their continued support for our diocesan pilgrimage.
Lastly, in a meeting my team and I had recently, we were very positive about maintaining the passion and interest that we all share about Lourdes. We are planning some Lourdes events through the year, beginning as soon as Advent this year. The Friends of Lourdes are planning an Advent event. The Diocese of Leeds Youth section is looking to provide ‘mini Lourdes’ events in the schools. There is also an outline plan for a special Mass at the Cathedral to celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes on 11th February. Also, after speaking with Bishop Marcus and Fr Eamonn Hegarty who is the parish priest of St Mary’s, Batley, we are planning to have a strong Lourdes theme for 2021 for the Annual Torchlight Procession. Other events may well surface in the coming months.
I know that this is not the same as being stood at the grotto singing the Lourdes hymn, or receiving Lourdes water, or taking part in the processions in Lourdes; however do not let the light of Lourdes go out! Let us keep the flame of pilgrimage to Lourdes alight in our hearts
As you may well imagine, the income for Lourdes has been greatly affected this year. If you would like to make a donation to Lourdes, please do go on the Lourdes website: https://www.lourdes-france.org
In the meantime, please let us all pray to St Bernadette who struggled so much with the weight of being the visionary, to give us perseverance and forbearance. We also invoke the prayers of Our Lady of Lourdes, the comforter of the afflicted, and the health of the sick.
With every blessing,
Fr Phillip Hall, Pilgrimage Director
Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes
‘I am the Immaculate Conception’
History of the Pilgrimage to Lourdes
The first Leeds Diocesan Pilgrimage started in 1928. Only two diocesan groups predate us, namely Liverpool and Salford.
Our annual Lourdes Pilgrimage provides unique opportunity to gather as a Diocese with the Bishop to pray and journey in faith. It is a time to stand apart from the rigours of life and seek the peace, healing and grace which a pilgrimage experience can afford. Pilgrims come from all parts of the Diocese and beyond. In Lourdes we encounter pilgrims from all parts of the world.
Sick and less able adult pilgrims who require assistance are helped by the 300 or so young pilgrims from diocesan schools and colleges. These young people come as pilgrims too.
The doctors, nurses and carers form a Hospitality Team in order to support the sick and less able. They serve in a spirit inspired by love of God and love of neighbour.
The Pilgrimage accepts all Catholic Safeguarding requirements and fully implements the legislation.
Pilgrimage Leader: Rt Rev Marcus Stock, The Bishop of Leeds
Pilgrimage Director: Rev Fr Phillip Hall
Lourdes Office: St Benedict’s Presbytery, Aberford Road, Garforth LS25 1PX
0113 286 3224
President of Hospitality: Ms Anita Bodurka
Hospitality Administrator: Mrs Kim O’Connor
Director of Liturgies: Rev Fr Sean Crawley
Youth Director: Rev Fr Marc Homsey
Schools Co-ordinator: Ms Jessica Wilkinson
Lead Doctor: TBC
Lead Nurse: Caroline Horner
Banner Co-ordinator: Mr Bob Lavery
Safeguarding Officers: Angela Harvey, Maureen Wilson and Jessica Wilkinson
Enquiries about the Pilgrimage should be addressed to the Director (details above).
The Diocese of Leeds Lourdes Pilgrimage Fund
The Lourdes Pilgrimage Fund supports the running of the Pilgrimage including the hire of equipment and wheelchairs. The Fund sponsors sick and less-able pilgrims unable to meet the full cost of a pilgrimage. Donations are gratefully received. If you would be like to further support the Leeds Diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes, you may consider altering your Will so that others may benefit from your gift. Please send to:
The Treasurer, The Lourdes Office, St Benedict’s Presbytery, Aberford Road, Garforth LS25 1PX. Tel: as above. Email: as above
Cheques to be made payable to: Diocese of Leeds – Lourdes
Diocese of Leeds Friends of Lourdes – aims:
- Keep Pilgrims in touch with each other through meetings and newsletters
- Care for the sick and less-able
- Assist with the Pilgrimage Organisation
- Pray for Pilgrims
- Foster devotion to Our Lady of Lourdes and St Bernadette
New members are very welcome. Belonging to the Friends is a great way to meet socially with Pilgrim Organisers, helpers and other pilgrims. Please consider joining today.
The 2021 Diocesan Pilgrimage to Walsingham will take place on Saturday 25 September, commencing with the Angelus at 12.00 noon followed by Mass at the National Shrine.
Walsingham – a brief history
Walsingham, in north Norfolk, has been a place of pilgrimage since medieval times, when for most people travel to Rome or Compostella was virtually impossible. The original shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, founded in 1061, was destroyed at the Reformation.
Many barren years passed until the Slipper Chapel, a 14th century wayside pilgrim chapel, was restored, and pilgrimage to Walsingham began once more. In 1934, the English bishops named the Slipper Chapel the Catholic National Shrine of Our Lady.
Walsingham – its spirituality
The idea of going on pilgrimage is deeply embedded in the Christian faith, and, earlier still, in the Jewish tradition. Every year Mary and Joseph joined the annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover, taking Jesus with them. Huge numbers today similarly make a pilgrimage to many Holy Places around the world, hundreds of thousands of them to Walsingham.
Almost everyone speaks of the peace they find in Walsingham, an atmosphere which some detect even on the approaching lanes. There are some who find their way to Walsingham to give thanks for some blessing in their lives. Others come to make a new start or find some way through confusion in their lives. There may be a desire to seek forgiveness in confession and reconciliation, or return to the Church. The sacrament of the sick is frequently received here, and people come to find healing, strength and God’s grace through the prayers of Our Lady.
The spirituality behind everything in Walsingham is to be found in the words of Our Lady when she was asked to become the mother of the Lord. Instead of questioning she simply responded, ‘Let it be done to me according to your word’ (Luke 1: 26). She lovingly sought and chose to do the will of God.
Whatever motivates a person to come to Walsingham, there is awakened in the soul open to God a desire to try and do his will. Discovering the will of God, let alone doing it, is often far from easy. On numerous occasions in the Gospel Mary ‘pondered these things in her heart’. Walsingham is gentle, offering space and time to ponder and pray, and work things out. It was in this spirit that Richeldis responded to the request made of her to build in Walsingham a replica of the home in Nazareth where Mary had made her initial response to God. Walsingham is the home of Mary where, like a mother, she is able to influence, guide, teach and love us if we let her, just as she did her Son. Most importantly, she asks us to say with her and through her, ‘Let it be done to me according to your word’.
Leeds Branch Contacts: Pilgrimage Director and Chaplain: Rev Fr Benjamin Griffiths, 11 Avondale Court, Shadwell, Leeds LS17 6DT email@example.com
St Wilfrid’s Way
The 2020 pilgrimage went ahead; as a ‘Licenced Organised Outdoor Physical Activity’ and Covid-Risk-Assessed, it was permitted under Government regulations.
As a follow-up to his St Patrick’s, Huddersfield to Leeds Cathedral ‘Camino’ instituted in the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Stephen Habron, a parishioner at Holy Redeemer Parish, Huddersfield, compiled a booklet on a new ‘Camino’ route: from Leeds Cathedral to Ripon via Knaresborough, Bishop Thornton and Fountains Abbey.
In 2016 this became a new official diocesan pilgrimage, St Wilfrid’s Way, which takes place each October, over two days around the time of St Wilfrid’s Feast Day (12 October). Anyone may walk either all or ANY part of the Camino (staying overnight en route OR going home). All those volunteering to provide hospitality, sustenance or transport for the walkers are pilgrims too –and are especially welcome!
The walk is in stages; almost all on tracks and paths, but within a short distance of the A61 and ‘bus and train services. We pass through some of the most historic sacred sites in the Diocese for Mass, the Rosary and other devotions, just a few of which include: the mediaeval wayside shrine of Our Lady of the Crag in Knaresborough; our Parish of St Joseph’s, Bishop Thornton where the upper room of the Presbytery is the oldest Mass House in the Diocese; Markenfield Hall with its Recusant Catholic links; the National Trust and World Heritage Site of Fountains Abbey and finally Ripon, which was home to the Shrine of St Wilfrid in Ripon Cathedral and is where the Pilgrimage ends with Mass at the Parish Church of St Wilfrid, designed by Joseph Hansom and Edward Pugin and one of the architectural treasures of our Diocese.
The Sixth Annual St Wilfrid’s Way Pilgrimage will take place on 8 & 9 October 2021. Copies of the St Wilfrid’s Way route are updated each year and will be FREE to download from our website (hard copies will be available in due course at the back of Leeds Cathedral and in St Patrick’s Church in Holy Redeemer Parish, Huddersfield).
The entire route (as walked in October 2018) is on WikiLoc: https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/st-wilfrids-way-2018-29700706
Laudato Si’ Pilgrimages
Our next Laudato Si’ Mini-Pilgrimage Walk is on Sunday 27 June 2021 (pandemic restrictions permitting!)
(As this is a fully Risk-Assessed event we need to know exact numbers planning to attend, so further details will be given when you ‘register your interest’ by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org)
Since 2018 our Laudato Si’ Mini Pilgrimages have been celebrations of God’s Creation and of our care for the earth, Our Common Home. They began as short, seasonal, guided walks through Ilkley’s Myddelton Grange estate woodlands to the Calvary – and it is thanks to parishioners at Sacred Heart, Ilkley who came on that first ‘pilgrimage recce’ that proposals for wheelchair-accessible pilgrimages to the Calvary are in progress, as well as Laudato Si’ Pilgrimages to other environmentally-important sacred sites within our Diocese, including the Chapel of Our Lady of the Crag and St Robert’s Cave on the banks of the River Nidd at Knaresborough.
Feel free to get in touch via email@example.com with suggestions for Laudato Si’ Pilgrimages in YOUR parish; your ideas will be warmly received!
These short pilgrimage routes are especially suitable for school groups and the Diocese of Leeds Faith in Action Awards.