Lourdes Dublin Diocesan Pilgrimage – September 7-12
St Paul’s College volunteered a gr0up of student under the leadership of Mr. Fergal Close to assist with pilgrims in Lourdes. This follows on a very successful visit last year.
Lourdes is a town in the Midi-Pyrénées region of southwest France. It’s known worldwide for the Sanctuaries Notre-Dame de Lourdes, or the Domain, a major Catholic pilgrimage site. Every year, millions visit the Grotto of Massabielle where, in 1858, the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to Bernadette Soubirous.
The Dublin Diocese takes two pilgrimages to Lourdes each year. The pilgrimage in September is one of the biggest events in the Diocese calendar and is lead by the Archbishop. About 2,000 pilgrims travel from all over the Diocese. Of these, 180 are sick pilgrims staying at the Accueil Notre Dame which is ‘a place of welcome’ close to the Grotto and with many of the facilities of a modern hospital. Another 550 of the pilgrims are voluntary helpers, made up of nurses and doctors, male and female helpers, known as handmaids and brancardiers, and a team of chaplains. A further 200 young people assist as well in the care of the sick pilgrims and many of these are from secondary schools and colleges from around the Diocese.
St Paul’s College once again joined the Pilgrimage to Lourdes this year. Four 6th Year students accompanied by Mr Close will mke the journey to Lourdes on Thursday the 7th of September to volunteer for the week until their return on Tues the 12th September.
Students and staff raised funds though a series of car boot sales which were help over three bank holiday weekends during the past year.
ABOUT 2,000 PEOPLE, including patients, doctors, nurses, volunteers and secondary school students, departed Dublin Airport on Sept 7th , ready to take part in the annual Lourdes pilgrimage. Seven planes took off as part of the country’s largest pilgrimage despite fears over recent flooding in the French region. The Archodiocese of Dublin said it was taking 140 secondary schools students from 23 schools, as well as their teachers, on this trip.
Five of our 6th year students accompanied the Dublin Diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes in September. They helped in the ‘Accueil’ and participated in the pilgrimage activities such as the torchlight procession and the Stations of the Cross. This year’s participants itinerary.