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Diocese of Limerick prepares to hold virtual pilgrimage for second year running

Diocese of Limerick prepares to hold virtual pilgrimage for second year running

Bishop of Limerick, Brendan Leahy, will lead the virtual pilgrimage

FOR the second consecutive year, the Limerick Diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes will not take place because of Covid-19.

However, the annual Docesan pilgrimage will continue online as pilgrims gather virtually from tomorrow.

While nothing can replace the deep spiritual experience of Lourdes itself, organisers say the virtual option is still expected to be enjoyed by large numbers between Thursday and Sunday.

With all liturgies across the four days being streamed live at on the diocese website and Facebook page, the online pilgrimage begins tomorrow with Mass at 10am, which will be celebrated by Fr Frank O’Dea, Director of the Lourdes Pilgrimage.

Mass will be celebrated on each of the four days at 10am from different locations, culminating with Sunday’s celebration with Bishop Brendan Leahy from Corpus Christi Church, Moyross. 

Other celebrations across the four days will take place at 9pm each evening, starting on Thursday with Stations of the Cross, led by Críona Horgan, Head of Nursing for the Lourdes Pilgrimage.

Friday evening’s gathering will be Rosary led by Carmel Sheridan, Chief Handmaiden while Chief Brancardier Fr Chris O’Donnell will lead a celebration of Healing and Reconciliation on Saturday evening.

There will be Evening Prayer and Closing, led again by Carmel Sheridan and assisted by the Pilgrimage Doctors, on Sunday evening.

Commenting ahead of the pilgrimage, Fr Frank O’Dea said: “While nothing compares to being in Lourdes itself and we so look forward to a return, the faithful have taken to online celebrations very well over the last 12 months and more. Our virtual Lourdes Pilgrimage last year was very well received and we are expecting more people to join this year.  Pilgrims and, indeed, volunteers get so much from Lourdes so there’s a deep yearning to reconnect again this year and we are really looking forward to tomorrow.

Pilgrims are invited to email their prayers, petitions and intentions to and they will be printed and laid before the altar for each liturgy.

Bishop of Limerick, Brendan Leahy, says he's looking forward to the four-day event. “The pandemic has taken so much from us all and the Lourdes Pilgrimage has certainly been deeply missed by all involved in this very special gathering each year. But as a people we’re incredible adaptable and I know that many are really looking forward to the spiritual sustenance they will get over the coming days. We will pray for many things and one of them certainly will be that we are edging ever closer to a safer place and, with vaccinations taking hold now, that we can look forward to returning to some semblance of even a new normal, perhaps even a return to the Marian Shrine in Lourdes in time ahead.”

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