The 86th annual Liverpool Archdiocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes starts on Friday 22 July. The Most Reverend Malcolm McMahon OP, Archbishop of Liverpool, will lead the pilgrimage, travelling with over 1,300 pilgrims. The theme of this year's pilgrimage is 'Lourdes, merciful like the Father'. Some 460 Liverpool pilgrims will travel by air on three special flights from Liverpool John Lennon Airport, with 130 of these being assisted pilgrims, of whom 50 will be in the special accommodation of the Accueil St Frai.
A total of 475 young people will take part in the Liverpool Youth Pilgrimage, journeying by coach from Chorley, Knowsley, Leyland, Liverpool, St Helens, Sefton, Warrington, Widnes and Wigan to join the other pilgrims. Nine coaches will leave from points across the Archdiocese at approximately 7.30am on Thursday morning, 21 July, to embark on the 26-hour journey. While in Lourdes and immediately after this arduous journey, the young pilgrims will get up as early as 4.30am to work in the hospital, while others follow them down in order to push the pilgrims in wheelchairs to different places of devotion and to Mass.
On arrival in Lourdes on Friday 22 July, Mass will be celebrated at 8.30pm in the Chapel Sacre Coeur before a full Mass of welcome in St Bernadette's church at 2.30pm on Saturday afternoon, 23 July. A highlight of the pilgrimage will be at 8.30am on Sunday morning, 24 July, when Mass will be celebrated in the Grotto, the holiest place in Lourdes, where it is believed the Virgin Mary appeared to St Bernadette on 18 occasions in 1858. Sunday afternoon and evening will see a Eucharistic procession and a Service of Reconciliation.
On Monday 25 July, Mass will be celebrated in the Rosary Basilica and pilgrims will participate in the traditional Marian Torchlight Procession at 9pm. On Tuesday 26 July pilgrims will take part in the Stations of the Cross during the morning before Mass at St Bernadette's church in the afternoon. On Wednesday 27 July pilgrims will join the International Celebration of Mass in the St Pius X Basilica with others from around the world. In the afternoon Mass will be celebrated at Bartres and in the evening there will be a Holy Hour in the St Pius X Basilica. On Thursday 28 July they return to the St Pius X Basilica for the Mass of Anointing of the Sick and in the afternoon the Esplanade Altar will be the setting for a Farewell Service.
The pilgrims return to Liverpool on Friday 29 July.
A copy of the full timetable is given below:
ARCHDIOCESE OF LIVERPOOL LOURDES PILGRIMAGE 2016
(Times given are Central European Summer Time: CEST)
FRIDAY 22 JULY
Pilgrims depart from Liverpool John Lennon Airport
8.30pm MASS will be celebrated in the Chapel Sacre Coeur
SATURDAY 23 JULY
2.30pm MASS OF WELCOME will be celebrated in St Bernadette's church
SUNDAY 24 JULY
8.30am SUNDAY MASS will be celebrated in the Grotto
5.00pm EUCHARISTIC PROCESSION and ADORATION for Liverpool pilgrims.
9pm A SERVICE OF RECONCILIATION will be celebrated in St Bernadette's church
MONDAY 25 JULY
2pm MASS will be celebrated in the Rosary Basilica
9pm TORCHLIGHT MARIAN PROCESSION for Liverpool pilgrims
TUESDAY 26 JULY
10am STATIONS OF THE CROSS
2.30pm MASS will be celebrated in St Bernadette’s church
WEDNESDAY 27 JULY
9.30am The INTERNATIONAL MASS will be celebrated in the Basilica of St Pius X
3pm MASS will be celebrated at Bartres for Liverpool pilgrims
9pm HOLY HOUR in the Basilica of St Pius X
THURSDAY 28 JULY
10am MASS OF ANOINTING OF THE SICK will be celebrated in the Basilica of St Pius X
2pm A FAREWELL SERVICE will be celebrated at the Esplandade Altar
FRIDAY 29 JULY
9.30am MASS will be celebrated in St Joseph’s Chapel
Pilgrims return to Liverpool
As well as attending the formal services there will be opportunities for pilgrims to visit the Grotto for private prayer, to bathe in the baths at the shrine and to take part in the Eucharistic Procession at 5pm and later at 9pm in the Marian Torchlight Procession.