Each year we take with us to Lourdes a group of pilgrims who need some assistance, either in the form of nursing care or those who simply can’t stay on their own, either because of age or infirmity. These pilgrims travel on their own, they do not need a carer, because we provide the care through our doctors, nurses and helpers, but if a carer also wishes to travel this can be accommodated.
Also if there are couples – husbands and wives or friends, who wish to travel together and stay with us and be looked after – this is also possible.
There are many occasions when some people want to go to Lourdes but simply do not have anyone to go with them and look after them, and so we are able to bring these people with us in the hope that they have the wonderful experience of a pilgrimage to Lourdes.
Sometimes parishes or SVP Conferences or Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion know of a sick or a housebound parishioner who would love to go to Lourdes, but does not have anyone to take them or care for them. This is where we can be of assistance.
All you need to do is to be able to get to the airport and then once there, we look after the person who needs that help. From assistance in the airport, during the flight to Lourdes, transfers to Lourdes and then accommodation in Lourdes, we can sort it all out.
We also provide for those who are unable to fly and each year we try to take a JUMBULANCE to Lourdes – a converted coach with beds and wider reclining seats – which means that those who are unable to fly for whatever reason can also go to Lourdes on pilgrimage. We have two suppliers of Jumbulance – ACROSS – who are based in London www.across-uk.org and JUMBULANCE TRUST – who are based in Hertfordshire www.jumbulance.org.uk This coach leaves the diocese the day before everyone else and travels overland and by Eurotunnel all the way down to Lourdes.
How do I apply for a place on the Pilgrimage as an Assisted Pilgrim?
All you need to do is ring the Pilgrimage Office (01670 513410) and ask for the Pilgrimage Director and ask for him to send out an Application Form for an Assisted Pilgrim. Complete the Form and return to the Pilgrimage Office.
What happens then?
When we receive your form, we write, having received your permission to do so, to your GP, or your Hospital Consultant for your medical notes. This helps us to assess whether we can adequately provide the correct care for you in Lourdes. Your application may also include a visit from one of our nurses as part of the assessment process. Having checked all your notes, your medication list and your GPs approval to travel, we then hope to be able to tell people whether their application has been successful before the end of May.
Once your application has been approved, you will be sent further details, as well as your invoice for payment.