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Lockdown forces Lourdes pilgrimage to go online

 
IT’S BEEN an annual feature of life in the diocese for the past 50 years, and now for the first time ever the summer pilgrimage to Lourdes is going virtual.
 
The Clogher Diocesan Pilgrimage to the French holy site had to be canclled this year due to the Covid pandemic, however the diocese has now organised an online pilgrimage “so that those who were intending to travel to the Marian shrine in the south-west of France can experience at home the prayefulness of Lourdes and the sense of belonging to the Lourdes community.”
 
Due to be held next month when this year’s pilgrimage was supposed to take place, from July 3-8,  the event will include online Masses and various devotions in different churches across the diocese, which will be broadcast across the dedicated website www.lourdes2clogher.com.
 
Director of the Clogher pilgrimage, Brian Armitage from Lisnaskea, said the virtual event would be a great way for people to experience Lourdes in their own homes.
 
“This initiative is being led by a small dedicated group from within our executive committee,” said Mr Armitage. “They are answering the desire of many people who want to share something of the Lourdes experience at this challenging time.”
 
Canon Noel McGahan PP, Clogher and Eskra, is spiritual director of the pilgrimage. He said it would give people the opportunity to come together “in a virtual sense” to pray for each other and the sick.
 
“The virtual pilgrimage is a response to Mary’s call, through St Bernadette, for people to come to the shrine of Lourdes for prayer and healing. I hope that many people will experience that over the course of these days,” said Fr McGahan.
 
The opening Mass of the pilgrimage will be celebrated by Bishop Larry Duffy from St Macartan’s Cathedral, Monaghan and broadcast via the website on July 3. Bishop Duffy will also lead a pre-recorded torchlight procession on the evening of Saturday, July 4, and will lead a Rosary on the Sunday evening, July 5.For a full schedule of events visit the pilgrimage website, www.lourdes2clogher.com.

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