As part of our preparation for each pilgrimage to Lourdes, we offer several preparation meetings for helpers or pilgrims to come together and where we share information.
These days are described as “non-negotiable”, i.e. attendance is expected by everyone who is a registered helper on the pilgrimage, whether they are 16 or 66 years of age, totally new to the Lourdes experience or someone who has 20+ years of experience of going to Lourdes.
All are expected to be present because what we do every year changes and so we use this day to inform all our helpers of the procedures we’re following that year on pilgrimage.
It is a day which we are legally bound to hold and make sure all helpers attend, to comply with what is expected of us from our Diocesan Pilgrimage Insurance Company. There is input from our President of Hospitalité, Senior Nurse, Safeguarding Officer, we look at important Health and Safety issues and have some practical sessions and ending with a short liturgy on the theme of the year.
Youth Section Meeting
All those who are part of the Youth Section are expected to be present at this meeting.
All those under 18 years of age are also asked to make sure that their parents are present at that meeting as well. This is usually a very busy meeting, but an important one during which we explain briefly, the journey to Lourdes and back and meeting places and what will happen in Lourdes; we also try to make sure that all the necessary paperwork – Codes of Conduct and Parental Consent forms – have been completed, so attendance is requested.
Accueil Pilgrims Meeting
There will be an annual meeting on for all our Sick and Assisted Pilgrims. This meeting will usually be held at St Aloysius Church Hall, Hebburn. All nurses and doctors are also invited to come along to that meeting to meet some of the pilgrims they will be assisting whilst in Lourdes. It is also important that all Accueil Pilgrims try to attend because we use this meeting to pass on information to all concerned. It begins with a brief video about Lourdes; there is a breakdown of what we will do during the week in Lourdes; and the Senior Nurse and one of our doctors also speaks about the nursing and medical care whilst in Lourdes. The President of Hospitalité usually has a few words to say as well about the week in Lourdes.