Our Diocesan Lourdes Pilgrimage takes place this year from Friday, 24th August to Friday 31st August, for those travelling by coach or Jumbulance, this will leave St Teresa of the Child Jesus on Thursday 23rd August.

The pastoral theme for Lourdes this year is “Do whatever he tells you” from the 2nd Chapter of St John (Wedding feast of Cana).

Bookings are now being taken. Please contact:

Diocesan Lourdes Director
Deacon David Wakefield

Follow the 2017 Lourdes pilgrimage daily below

Re-live the 2017 Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes here

Our theme this year is The Almighty has done great things for me, reflecting on the words of Mary in the Magnificat



Please select the day from the left of this page and follow us on our Journey.

You will be able to read and hear the Gospel for the day, see Bishop Declan introduce the day and hear the Homilies from the Masses.

You will also be able to see all the lovely pictures from the day.

Saturday 19th

Today we, the Clifton Pilgrims, together with the other dioceses and organisations that make up the Catholic Association, gather in St Bernadette’s Church for our first Mass together. Bishop Declan who is leading the pilgrimage, will focus on the concept “Man looks at appearances, God looks at the heart”. He writes “The pastoral theme this year is ‘The Almighty has done great things for me!’ These words obviously echo the song of praise by Mary, the mother of the Lord and the Immaculate Conception. In her life, by pondering and treasuring the mysteries of God which were entrusted to her, Mary grew in her relationship with God and came to be a model of discipleship for us all. Through her prayers may we grow in our understanding of what it is to be God’s people, committed to the mission of Christ.”

A pilgrimage is more than a journey. It is an encounter between a people of faith and God. Pilgrims journey with one another sharing their faith and celebrating it especially in the Mass. As we remember our Diocesan family at today’s Mass, please pray for us as we respond to Our Lady’s call to come in procession to the Grotto of Massabielle.

Below, Bishop Declan gives his first Reflection on the theme of the Pilgrimage and for today:

Gospel John 2:1-11

There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. The mother of Jesus was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited. When they ran out of wine, since the wine provided for the wedding was all finished, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ Jesus said, ‘Woman, why turn to me? My hour has not come yet.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ There were six stone water jars standing there, meant for the ablutions that are customary among the Jews: each could hold twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants. ‘Fill the jars with water,’ and they filled them to the brim. ‘Draw some out now’ he told them ‘and take it to the steward.’ They did this; the steward tasted the water, and it had turned into wine. Having no idea where it came from – only the servants who had drawn the water knew – the steward called the bridegroom and said, ‘People generally serve the best wine first, and keep the cheaper sort till the guests have had plenty to drink; but you have kept the best wine till now.’

This was the first of the signs given by Jesus: it was given at Cana in Galilee. He let his glory be seen, and his disciples believed in him.

Lourdes 2017 – Saturday Gathering Mass

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Sunday 20th August

On Sunday morning, the Clifton pilgrims will join pilgrims from all over the world for the International Mass. This celebration, in the underground Basilica of St Pius X, will incorporate the languages of the many pilgrimages present in Lourdes, demonstrating the Universal mission of the Church.

In the first reading on this the 20th Sunday of the year, Isaiah reminds us to ‘have a care for justice’ and to ‘act with integrity’.

Let us pray that our pilgrims in Lourdes may be inspired by the love God shows to them and given the strength to be similarly loving to others.

Below, Bishop Declan gives his second Reflection on the Gospel for today:

Gospel Matthew 15:21-28

Jesus left Gennesaret and withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. Then out came a Canaanite woman from that district and started shouting, ‘Sir, Son of David, take pity on me. My daughter is tormented by a devil.’ But he answered her not a word. And his disciples went and pleaded with him. ‘Give her what she wants,’ they said ‘because she is shouting after us.’ He said in reply, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.’ But the woman had come up and was kneeling at his feet. ‘Lord,’ she said ‘help me.’ He replied, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the house-dogs.’ She retorted, ‘Ah yes, sir; but even house-dogs can eat the scraps that fall from their master’s table.’ Then Jesus answered her, ‘Woman, you have great faith. Let your wish be granted.’ And from that moment her daughter was well again.

Below Fr Michael Thomas has a lovely conversation with one of the many Pilgrims, Wyn, from his Parish in Minehead:

Angela Parry from St Bonaventure’s Parish in Bristol exlains to us why the torchlight Procession is so special to her and the many thousands of Pilgrims who take part.

Lourdes 2017 – Sunday Intenational Mass – Torchlight Procession

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Monday 21 August: Mary said to Bernadette “Would you do me the favour of coming here?” The Grotto, in the heart of the Sanctuary area, is where our Clifton Pilgrims gather on Monday morning for an open air Mass. At the Grotto, the place which Bernadette described as “my Heaven”, they will focus on Mary, help of the sick. As we pray for our sick pilgrims and all who serve those who are in pain, let us ask Mary to help us deepen our life of prayer and faith so that we may be inspired to see as God sees and may therefore more effectively serve God and one another. The call to reconciliation is part of the message of Lourdes and our afternoon Penitential liturgy will focus on the theme “Mary refuge of sinners”. It will be an opportunity to confess sins that have broken our relationship with God and with our neighbour, and a time to reflect on moments when we have failed in genuine love. Below, Bishop Declan gives his Reflection for the day: Mass – Gospel Luke 1:39-56 Mary set out and went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country of Judah. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. Now as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, ‘Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? For the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.’ And Mary said: ‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit exults in God my saviour; because he has looked upon his lowly handmaid. Yes, from this day forward all generations will call me blessed, for the Almighty has done great things for me. Holy is his name, and his mercy reaches from age to age for those who fear him. He has shown the power of his arm, he has routed the proud of heart. He has pulled down princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things, the rich sent empty away. He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his mercy – according to the promise he made to our ancestors – of his mercy to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’ Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back home. Bishop Alan Hopes gave the Homily which you can hear below; Penitential Service – Gospel Matthew 25:31-40 Jesus said to his disciples: ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, escorted by all the angels, then he will take his seat on his throne of glory. All the nations will be assembled before him and he will separate men one from another as the shepherd separates sheep from goats. He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right hand, “Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take for your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.” Then the virtuous will say to him in reply, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you; or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome; naked and clothe you; sick or in prison and go to see you?” And the King will answer, “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me” In the afternoon, the Young Leaders along with Dave Wheat made the trip up the Funicular Railway to the top of Pic Du Jur. Phil Gibbons spoke with them at the top:

Lourdes 2017 – Monday Grotto Mass

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Tuesday takes us to Bartres, a small village on the outskirts of Lourdes, where Bernadette stayed as a child. Our day starts with Mass in the Church of St John the Baptist, during which Bishop Crispian Hollis will give a personal reflection on the theme of the pilgrimage “The Almighty has done great things for me!”.

After Mass, our celebrations will continue over lunch in a local restaurant.

As we gather together as a Diocesan family, let us listen to God’s voice, to our Lady’s call and to Bernadette’s message so that we too will be able to say, “The Almighty has done great things for me!”

Bishop Declan’s daily Reflection can be seen below:

Bishop Crispian gave a very personal Homily in Bartres. You can hear it below:

Fr Michael Thomas spoke openly with Bishop Crispian after Mass about his Homily and the theme of this year’s Pilgrimage. You can hear that short coversation below:

Mass – Gospel

Reference: Luke 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid, you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘But how will this come about, since I am a virgin?’ ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you,’ the angel answered, ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: Your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.’ ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary, ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.

Lourdes 2017 – Bartres

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Wednesday – The Baths and the Stations of the Cross

“Go and drink at the spring”

(Mary to Bernadette 25th February 1858)

In the liturgy water is used, especially in the Baptism ceremony, to symbolise “the washing away of original sin”.

In a simple act of faith, imitating Bernadette’s actions of drinking and washing, pilgrims come to Lourdes to find purification of body and soul.

This morning, our Clifton Pilgrims have the opportunity to visit the baths to immerse themselves in the water. Many healings are associated with it. Bernadette said, “This water would have no virtue without faith.” It is God who heals through the intercession of the Virgin Mary and through the prayers of the faithful. Let us ask Mary, comforter of the afflicted, to intercede for those who need healing.

This afternoon our pilgrims will climb the hill of the Espelugues to discover the 115 statues that make up the 14 stations of the Passion of Christ. At each station they will reflect upon Jesus’ suffering and death.

Pope Francis, in his prayer to Our Lady, used these words “You who stood steadfast by the cross with unshakeable faith and welcomed the joyful consolation of the resurrection, you gather the disciples to wait for the Spirit, so that the evangelizing Church be born”. We are that Church, called to be a people of Hope, called to be witnesses, by the life we lead.

Today, Monsignor Vincent Harvey from the Portsmouth Diocese steps in and gives us our Daily Reflection. We caught up with him at the top of the High Stations way above Lourdes where he gives a personal Reflection for the day.

Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12

Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up the hill. There he sat down and was joined by his disciples. Then he began to speak. This is what he taught them:

‘How blessed are the poor in spirit:

theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed the gentle:

they shall have the earth for their heritage.

Blessed those who mourn:

they shall be comforted.

Blessed those who hunger and thirst for what is right:

they shall be satisfied.

Blessed the merciful:

they shall have mercy shown them.

Blessed the pure in heart:

they shall see God.

Blessed the peacemakers:

they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed those who are persecuted in the cause of right:

theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

‘Blessed are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.’

Bishop Philip Egan gave the Homily today and in his entertaining Homily, he expanded on the Gospel of the day. You can hearths below:

Since 1858, many sick pilgrims have come to Lourdes led by their faith. Here, “in Bernadette’s footsteps”, remembering that she herself was sick, they find hope, love and companionship.

On this our final day in Lourdes, we gather for the “anointing of the sick” and for our final thanksgiving Mass.

We pray that our sick pilgrims may receive the grace to accept their sufferings and offer them up lovingly to God. We also give thanks for our week in Lourdes and ask for the graces to recognise that the Almighty has indeed done great things for us.

Today Bishop Declan gives us his final Reflection:

St Bartholomew

Anointing of the Sick – Gospel John 19:25-27

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, “Woman, this is your son.” Then to the disciple he said, “This is your mother.” And from that moment the disciple made a place for her in his home.

Bishop Peter Doyle gave a very inspiring Homily where he spoke about today’s Gospel:

Mass – Gospel John 1:45-51

Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, the one about whom the Prophets wrote: he is Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.” “From Nazareth?” said Nathanael, “Can anything good come from that place?” “Come and see,” replied Philip. When Jesus saw Nathanael coming he said of him, “There is an Israelite who deserves the name, incapable of deceit.” “How do you know me?” said Nathanael. “Before Philip came to call you,” said Jesus “I saw you under the fig tree.” Nathanael answered, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God, you are the King of Israel.” Jesus replied, “You will see greater things than that.” And then he added, “I tell you most solemnly, you will see heaven laid open and, above the Son of Man, the angels of God ascending and descending.

Bishop Pat Lynch gave the final Mass Homily

Lourdes 2017 – Thursday – Anointing Of The Sick

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Whilst in Lourdes, Phil Gibbons popped in to the Accieul hospital which is located over the river from the Grotto. The Accueil Notre-Dame allows assisted pilgrims the chance to experience their pilgrimage in the best possible conditions.

Below you can hear the podcast Phil made on his visit wher he meets helpers, nurses and Priests who all give up thier time to volunteer for a week to be part of the whole Lourdes experience. He starts off by speaking with Brendan who is one of the committed helpers, and asked him to explain about the hospital:

You can see all the pictures, hear the podcasts and see Bishop Declan’s video reflections for the 2017 pilgrimage here

Lourdes – Accieul Hospital

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