On returning from a fantastic pilgrimage in 2015, work started immediately on the preparation for the 2016 pilgrimage. The Organising committee strive to obtain best value for our pilgrims and to this end we sent out tender documents to 5 travel agents, and asked them to quote for our pilgrimage, as a result of this we have secured very good prices for 2016 much lower than last year, and I hope as many of you as possible will join us.
On the 11th April, Pope Francis called the Church to celebrate “A Jubilee Year of Mercy for the universal Church”. He asked that a holy door might be opened, at the discretion of the local Bishop, “at any shrine frequented by large groups of pilgrims, since visits to these holy sites are so often grace-filled moments, as people discover a path to conversion.”
The Bishop of Tarbes and Lourdes, has decided that, from the 8th of December 2015 to the 20th of November 2016, the Sanctuary of Lourdes will therefore be a place of Jubilee where everyone can experience God’s divine mercy in a very special way.
The theme for 2016 is “Merciful like the Father”. This is also the year when we ourselves are encouraged to be merciful, through charity, service and caring for others. These two aspects, mercy received from the Father and the mercy we show to others, will set the pattern for our pilgrimage this year.
We have been asked to emphasise 3 things during our pilgrimage and these are:-
- The passage through the Holy Door which will be near the Breton Cross near St Michael’s Gate
- The celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation
- The celebration of the Anointing of the Sick, to show Gods mercy to those who suffer
Our pilgrimage should not simply offer mercy, it should itself be an active agent of mercy: The jubilee is an opportunity to invite the sick to come, to encourage people who wish for forgiveness to be reconciled and to offer people in difficulty the opportunity to come to Lourdes to experience a moment of grace.