Prayers in Dublin and Lourdes for peace in Syria

07 Sep 2013

Seven planes carrying sick pilgrims, medics and volunteers left Dublin today as part of the country’s largest pilgrimage to Lourdes.  Up to 2,000 people are taking part in the pilgrimage from the Archdiocese of Dublin.

Tonight, in St. Bernadette’s Church in Lourdes, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin will lead prayers for peace in Syria.  The Archbishop said that with Pope Francis and the whole Church, Dublin pilgrims will pray this place of extraordinary serenity, for peace in Syria and for peace in the world.

At the same time, an evening of prayer for peace will begin the St. Marys Pro- Cathedral in Dublin with Mass at 6pm, followed by Exposition, Benediction and night prayers. Prayers services for peace will also being held in individual parishes throughout today and this evening.

Despite extensive flooding in Lourdes  the world famous Marian Shrine just over two months ago, the pilgrimage has gone ahead as planned with minimal changes to the itinerary.

The Dublin Lourdes pilgrimage is the largest in the country. Flights are leaving Dublin since 6am this morning carrying sick pilgrims, doctors, nurses and volunteer helpers. Also taking part are almost 140 secondary school students from 23 different schools around the Archdiocese and their teachers. Such was the demand for a place on this year’s pilgrimage, the Diocesan Lourdes office was unable to facilitate everyone on a waiting list that had built up over recent weeks.

Pilgrimage Director Father Martin Noone, said  “Lourdes is such a peaceful,  prayerful shrine – our prayers, on the Vigil of her birth, will be to Our Lady Queen of Peace as we fervently hope that dialogue, peace and reconciliation will triumph in Syria over scenes of desperation and destruction.”

Bishop Eamonn Walsh will lead prayers at Mass in the Pro-Cathedral at 6pm uniting with Pope Francis, in Saint Peter’s Square. Following the Mass there will be Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament from 7.00 p.m., concluding with Night Prayer and Benediction at 10.30 p.m. ENDS

  • Further information: Annette O Donnell – 087 8143462
  • Photos from airport today available from John Mc Elroy Photos 087 2416985

“I appeal strongly for peace, an appeal which arises from the deep within me. How much suffering, how much devastation, how much pain has the use of arms carried in its wake in that martyred country, especially among civilians and the unarmed! I think of many children will not see the light of the future! With utmost firmness I condemn the use of chemical weapons: I tell you that those terrible images from recent days are burned into my mind and heart. There is a judgment of God and of history upon our actions which are inescapable! Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake. War begets war, violence begets violence”- Pope Francis, Sunday September 1st.