Lourdes at HomeSunday 11th February 2018
Sunday 11th February is World Day of the Sick. In his message for the 26th World Day of the Sick, Pope Francis asks us all – ‘to be welcoming to our sick brothers and sisters. The Church knows that she requires a special grace to live up to her evangelical task of serving the sick. ‘
Welcoming our sick brother and sisters is something that all our parishes do every single week with prayers and visits from Eucharistic Ministers. We are also privileged to have a thriving pilgrimage to Lourdes, but not everyone can manage to undertake the trip to France each year. So one of our parishes has decided to bring a little bit of Lourdes to Lancashire!
For the past three years St Mary’s Oswaldtwistle has held a weekend of events aiming to bring the experience of the pilgrimage to Lourdes to the parish. The replication of significant ceremonies and events that are enjoyed by pilgrims has been so successful that the ‘Lourdes at Home’ weekend is now in its fourth year.
The weekend involves Mass followed by a period of reflection and Rosary prayers offered for the sick of the community. Then there is a candle lit procession around the church accompanied by the joint male voice and mixed folk group choirs.
The idea for the weekend came about in 2015 when the Church was undergoing some restoration work. As part of this work the Our Lady of Lourdes grotto was rebuilt and a new statue installed during what became known as “St Mary’s Lourdes at Home” weekend.
Commenting on the origins of the weekend, the St Mary’s Oswaldtwistle Lourdes Group said:
“We had found over the years that many parishioners have commented that they would like to visit Lourdes, but with either age or infirmity of themselves or dependants preventing it, therefore making the re-dedication of our grotto, and the services celebrated as they would be experienced in Lourdes most welcome.
While we cannot completely reproduce the atmosphere and full experience of a Lourdes pilgrimage the 100 plus who took part felt moved and helped by the togetherness the weekend services created.”
In 2017 the “Lourdes At Home Weekend” was visited by Bishop John who con-celebrated the Mass for the sick and housebound.
Plans for the 2018 weekend are already under way!