Christian pilgrimage offers an opportunity to visit the locations of importance to our faith, to travel in the company of other people of faith, and to reflect, pray and explore one's own spirituality.

Pilgrimage also helps to 'bring home' new understandings and insights.

You may visit Lourdes as a day/private pilgrim or as part of an organised Pilgrimage.
Possibly the best way to go to Lourdes is as a member of an authorised Pilgrimage; this is because these Pilgrimages hold an official recognised status. Day Pilgrims possibly feel that they miss something and that they are perhaps only spectators.

Each year between 500 - 1000 people drawn from all corners of the Birmingham Diocese travel as general pilgrims. Many of these travel as part of parish groups.

Pastoral theme for 2014
Lourdes, the joy of conversion

True conversion is God’s initiative. The first step for pilgrims on the road to conversion is to recognise our need for God and the invite to live better lives for ourselves and others, and to be open to the grace which God offers to each of us for this to become a reality.

Conversion involves a new beginning which opens up a path to fullness of life and truth. It may involve the re-discovering of relationships that have become hidden or damaged because of our life experiences of hurt or personal struggles with sin and sickness?

During our week together the Sacraments of the Church make available for us through our liturgy and music the grace necessary for conversion. The inward grace we receive in the Sacraments becomes an outward sign made visible in the healing of body and soul and bears fruit in the way we live out our relationship with God and one another. This is a source of joy for all!

As it was for Saint Bernadette, may we be open to what the Immaculate Virgin Mary asks of us as she directs our gaze once more to her Divine Son that we too may experience the fullness of joy in his presence.

Canon Gerry Breen
Pilgrimage Director