We all know we’re not able to go on to Lourdes this year, so we’re going to bring you the next best thing – a virtual pilgrimage!

Bishop Terry has agreed to lead a programme of online services from St Mary’s Cathedral at around the times our various celebrations would have been taking place.

And to prepare us for our week, we’ve decided to invite you to join us on a 16-day Walk of Hope from Middlesbrough to Lourdes, travelling around 65 miles each day through England and France before arriving at the shrine for the start of our virtual pilgrimage on Friday May 22. 

You can take part in this journey of faith – which has the theme “Lourdes I am” – to visit Our Lady and St Bernadette by walking, running or travelling in your wheelchair for anything from 100 yards up to a few miles – while observing the rules concerning social distancing, of course – to add to our daily total.    

This could be part of your existing exercise or especially for the journey – every step helps! Simply email the distance you’ve completed to lourdesvirtualwalk@gmail.com by 5pm each day.

We’ll use our Middlesbrough Diocesan Lourdes Facebook page to record our journey and post daily updates and we welcome you to post photographs and comments about your own day’s journey.

The 16 days of our journey will be themed around the first 16 Apparitions of St Bernadette, ending on the day of the 16th apparition when Our Lady says, “I am the Immaculate Conception.”

Our journey begins on Thursday May 7 with 10am Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral, which will be celebrated by Bishop Terry and streamed via YouTube. We will then begin our journey.

Daily Itinerary

Morning prayer and theme for the day

1pm: A personal reflection from a different pilgrim each day posted on Facebook

5pm: We’ll update everyone with how far we’ve come, including details of who has contributed to our journey

7.30pm: Night prayers and Rosary streamed on Facebook Live.

Our journey will end with Rosary at 7.30pm on the evening of Friday May 22, when we arrive in Lourdes to begin our virtual pilgrimage.

Our journey…

Day 1 – Thursday May 7: Leave St Mary’s Cathedral for Richmond, ending the day in Scarborough

Day 2 – Friday May 8: Scarborough to York

Day 3 – Saturday May 9: York to Hull, ending the day in Scunthorpe

Day 4 – Sunday May 10: Scunthorpe to Grantham

Day 5 – Monday May 11: Grantham to Cambridge

Day 6 – Tuesday May 12: Cambridge to Gravesend

Day 7 – Wednesday May 13: Leave Gravesend, board the ferry at Dover and travel to Calais

Day 8 ­– Thursday May 14: Calais to Arras

Day 9 – Friday May 15: Arras to Compiegne

Day 10 – Saturday May 16: Compiegne to Angervilliers

Day 11 – Sunday May 17: Angervilliers to Lussay

Day 12 – Monday May 18: Lussay to Velleches

Day 13 – Tuesday May 19: Velleches to La Fort-Monjault

Day 14 – Wednesday May 20: La Fort-Monjault toSaintes

Day 15 – Thursday May 21: Saintes to Toulenne

Day 16 – Friday May 22: Toulenne to Lourdes