The newly-ordained Bishop of Meath, Bishop Tom Deenihan, along with Bishop Michael Smith, Bishop Emeritus of Meath, and 550 pilgrims from the diocese, have travelled to Lourdes this week (12 – 17 September) to pray for the sick and assist pilgrims with disabilities and illnesses. This year’s pilgrimage marks the 71st pilgrimage to this popular Marian Shrine in the south of France. The Diocese of Meath undertook its first such pilgrimage to Lourdes in 1948.
Over the 70 years many people with disabilities and people suffering with illnesses have been able to travel to Lourdes with the assistance and support of volunteers. An additional benefit of the pilgrimage is that it brings together people from all over the diocese providing an experience of grace, joy and healing for so many of the faithful.
Speaking today from Lourdes, Bishop Deenihan said: “Our pilgrimage is only possible because of the generosity of so many people. It is a time of blessing and grace for our entire diocese. Please keep the pilgrims in your prayers as they carry with them the intentions of so many people and lay them in the hands of Our Lord through the intercession of Mary. The grotto in Lourdes, the water, the baths, the processions, the Eucharist, the candles, the music, the gathering of people from all over the world, are all part of this special place where pilgrims experience the healing presence of God and where hearts are uplifted.
“This year also marks a special anniversary in Lourdes. It is 160 years since Our Lady appeared to Saint Bernadette at this holy place. Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us”.
Bishop Deenihan was consecrated Bishop of Meath on 2 September last in the Cathedral of Christ the King, Mullingar. The chief ordaining prelate at the Ordination Mass was Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, and he was assisted by Bishop Michael Smith, Bishop Emeritus of Meath, and by Bishop John Buckley, Bishop of Cork & Ross. The Diocese of Meath includes the greater part of counties Meath, Westmeath and Offaly. The diocese has a Catholic population of 270,000 and consists of 69 parishes and 149 churches. Its patron saint is Saint Finian.
Notes to Editors
- The Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes takes place each year on 11 February. On this day in 1858 Our Lady first appeared to the fourteen year old, now Saint Bernadette Soubirous, in Lourdes. The Blessed Virgin Mary said to Bernadette, “I am the Immaculate Conception”.
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