Almost every UK diocese organises a pilgrimage to Lourdes and it is a big logistical operation to get everyone to Lourdes, but also to make sure all arrangements are put in place before we begin to travel. Each year we take about 500 people on pilgrimage to Lourdes. To make this possible, the diocesan bishop appoints a group of people to help organise the pilgrimage, so that every year, we are able to travel to Lourdes.
In our diocese, we refer to this group of people as our “Core Group”, people who go to Lourdes regularly and who lead various parts of the pilgrimage.
It consists of: three priests, one deacon who is also a hospital chaplain, two nurses, one doctor who is a consultant physician, one diocesan safeguarding officer and two ‘stagiaries’ – members of the Hospitalité Notre Dame de Lourdes and members of Hexham and Newcastle Diocesan Hospitalité who have many years’ experience of pilgrimage to Lourdes.
This group meets regularly throughout the year, to review the previous pilgrimage and then to look forward and plan the next one. It is almost a round the year task, with the exception of a few days break immediately after the pilgrimage, but even then notes are being made about what happened on pilgrimage and perhaps what we can do better the next year!!
The Core Group is always willing to listen to pilgrims views about the pilgrimage, because unless we hear what people think about the experience in Lourdes it is difficult to move forward, so if you have been a pilgrim and have any thoughts on the pilgrimage, please do not hesitate to get in touch,.
The members of our Core Group are …
Pilgrimage Director: Father Peter J. Stott
Assistant Pilgrimage Director: Father Christopher Warren
Youth Section Co-ordinator: Father Michael McCoy
Master of Ceremonies: Father Shaun Purdy
Chaplain to the Sick: Reverend Peter Jones
President of Hospitalité: Mrs Elaine Scannell
Assistant President of Hospitalité: Mrs Christine Jones
Medical Officer: Dr Dermot Kearney
Senior Nurse: Mrs Kath McTernan
Health & Safety Officer: Mrs Christine Appleby
Safeguarding Officer: Ms Claire James