28/08/11 Preparations for Dublin Pilgrimage to Lourdes
Press Release 28th August
2, 000 prepare for Dublin Pilgrimage to Lourdes
A Blessing of Hands ceremony for volunteers who will take sick people on pilgrimage to Lourdes next week takes place in Dublin this afternoon (Sunday 28th)
Every year, hundreds of people, among them doctors nurses and students give generously of their time to ensure that sick pilgrims can travel with the Archdiocese of Dublin to the world famous Marian Shrine.
Final preparations are currently underway for the 62nd Annual pilgrimage which starts on September 7th and runs until the 12th. It takes almost a year of meticulous planning to ensure the smooth running of the pilgrimage and the transportation and accommodation of large numbers of sick people, many in wheelchairs. 2,000 people will travel from the Archdiocese this year, led by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin and priests of the Diocese. The theme of this year’s pilgrimage is “With Bernadette we pray the Our Father”.
The September pilgrimage to Lourdes is one of the biggest events in the Dublin Diocesan calendar. This year 640 volunteers, 55 nurses, 9 doctors and 180 sick people will all make the journey to Lourdes along with 145 young people from 22 schools across the Diocese, all travelling as helpers to assist in the care of the sick pilgrims. Crosscare, the social care agency of the Dublin Diocese will also be sending representatives.
This afternoon (Sunday, 3.30pm) many of the doctors, nurses, helpers and chaplains making the pilgrimage to Lourdes will come together for the “Blessing of Hands” ceremony in St. Therese’s Church, Mount Merrion, during which all those present will have their hands blessed in preparation for the spiritual journey ahead.
Pilgrimage Director, Fr John Gilligan said “The pilgrimage to Lourdes is an important event in the Dublin Diocesan calendar and provides an opportunity to focus our prayers on those who are sick. Once again I am deeply heartened by the level of commitment given by all those involved who work to make the pilgrimage such a success. I hope that this will continue for many years to come.”