Kerry Lourdes pilgrimage stays at home

The annual pilgrimage includes a Kerry Mass at the grotto

THIS year’s Kerry Diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes can be enjoyed in the comfort and safety of the pilgrim’s homes.

For only the second time in half a century, the trip to the popular place of prayer in France will not take place due to Covid-19 but, instead, the Diocese of Kerry is organising an initiative called Bringing Lourdes Home.

The diocese said: “In light of the current worldwide situation and for the wellbeing of all those who would have travelled with us, we felt it was not possible to proceed this year”.

The pilgrimage would have taken place over five days from September 2 but the celebration has now transferred online and it will be available on the diocesan webpage.

The annual pilgrimage is always hugely popular

The public will be invited to use prayer to bring Lourdes into their homes and pilgrimage services will be streamed from different locations in the diocese over the five days.

“It’s great to be able to bring people together online for Lourdes 2021,” said a spokesperson.

“Each member of the organising team and the wider Lourdes pilgrimage community are hoping and praying that they will be boarding flights at Farranfore Airport this time next year”.

The annual pilgrimage is always hugely popular and those attending enjoy a full programme including Mass at the Grotto, the Vigil of Reconciliation, Vigil of Healing and the visually spectacular torchlight procession.

The online Bringing Lourdes Home celebration, which is available on Virtual Lourdes Pilgrimage Schedule, will feature:

Bishop Ray Browne: Grotto Mass

September 2: An opening day Mass, celebrated by Fr Nicholas Flynn, in St Mary’s Cathedral  at 6.15pm

September 3: Mass for the sick, celebrated by Fr Pat O’Donnell in St Joseph’s Church, Rathmore at 11.00 am

September 4: Grotto Mass, celebrated by Bishop Ray Browne, at Valentia Grotto at 12.30pm

September 5: Daily Mass in local parishes and, later, a streaming of the torchlight procession on the Lourdes website at 8.00pm.

September 6: Prayer reflection, led by Fr John Buckley, in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Currow at 7.00pm

September 7: Closing Mass, celebrated by Fr Bill Radley, at the St John’s Church in Tralee at 6.10 pm.