Join the Cardinal on pilgrimage to Lourdes
Lourdes Theme for 2017
"The Almighty has done great things for me"
In this year’s centenary of one of the great Marian apparitions, we gather together as a pilgrim people representing our diocese at the Shrine of Our Lady at Lourdes.
The gentle and simple words given by the Blessed Virgin Mary to Bernadette are what draw us to this centre of miracles. Having been invited in the previous theme of the pilgrimage to respond to the grace and mercy of God, and in our shared celebrations this week, we will come to know and understand, and perhaps to genuinely feel indeed, that God loves us as we are.
As human beings, we are susceptible to a frailty by which we bear witness to the sufferings of Christ. Weakness and ill health often evoke a yearning in us to call on God’s help, that by having faith in His power, we may be restored to health. The depth of prayer, and the receiving of the sacraments, which this pilgrimage provides, can allow us to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, a gift, which holy scripture reminds us and the Lord invokes, is to be the channel by which healing is given, and we too, as pilgrims, are welcome to allow the strength of the Holy Spirit to heal us too.
The theme of our pilgrimage this year is - “The Lord has done great things for me” and let us remember that it was St Paul in his letter to the Romans who proclaimed that, “All who are guided by the Holy Spirit are sons of God: ...enabling us to cry out, ‘Abba, Father!’
Let us then enter into this pilgrimage, as children of God, mindful of what He has promised to us and made possible for us, and let us remember that the fruits of the Spirit are at the heart of the message of Lourdes: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control. These were present in the child Bernadette as Our Lady engaged with her beside the River Gave at the Grotto. Nothing is impossible for God, but it is essential for us to restore His kingdom on earth by simple faith.
My hope is that we experience these fruits, or enable others to witness them by our actions, and that our time in Lourdes may be truly faithful and peaceful.
With every blessing,
Father Dennis Touw