Pilgrims' Way Issue 36 Winter 2020

Page 1

’Way s m i r g Pil Journal of the Society of Our Lady of Lourdes

Issue 36

Winter 2021

Contents P. 1

Year of St Joseph

P. 5

Mary answers a prayer and saves a life

P. 6

A Young Saint for our Time: Carlo Acutis

P. 9

Spiritual Communion

P. 12

Reflections on ‘GOOD FRIDAY’, Poem by Christina Rosetti

P. 15

Silence: New Year in Bali

P. 16

SOLL 2020 AGM – Chairman’s Report

P. 19

Letter from Mgr Olivier Ribadeau Dumas

P. 20

Latest Update on Lourdes Pilgrimage 2021

P. 22

Our Website Amazon Smile

P. 23

Annual Mass Praying for our sick and deceased friends

P. 24

SOLL “Responsables”

P. 25

Bonus Ball and Centenary Club Winners

P. 26

Application Form

Pope Francis proclaims “Year of St Joseph” Vatican News


ith the Apostolic Letter “Patris corde” (“With a Father’s Heart”), Pope Francis recalls the 150th anniversary of the declaration of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. To mark the occasion, the Holy Father has proclaimed a “Year of Saint Joseph” from 8 December 2020 to 8 December 2021. The Holy Father wrote Patris Corde (PC) against the backdrop of the Covid­19 pandemic, which, he says, has helped us see more clearly the importance of “ordinary” people who, though far from the limelight, exercise patience and offer hope every day. In this, they resemble Saint Joseph, “the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence,” who nonetheless played “an incomparable role in the history of salvation.” A beloved, tender, obedient father Saint Joseph, in fact, “concretely expressed his fatherhood” by making an offering of himself in love. And because of his role at “the crossroads between the Old and New Testament,” St Joseph “has always been venerated as a father by the Christian people” (PC 1). In him, “Jesus saw the tender love of God,” the one that helps us accept our weakness, because it is “through… our fears, our frailties, and our weakness” that most divine designs are realized. “Only tender love will save us from the snares of the accuser,” emphasizes the Pontiff, and it is by encountering God’s mercy especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation that we “experience His truth and tenderness,” – because “we know that God’s truth does not condemn us, but instead welcomes, embraces, sustains and forgives us” (2). Joseph is also a father in obedience to God: with his ‘fiat’ he protects Mary and Jesus and teaches his Son to “do the will of the Father.” Called by God to serve the mission of Jesus, he “cooperated… in the great mystery of Redemption,” as St John Paul II said, “and is truly a minister of salvation” (3). 1

Welcoming the will of God At the same time, Joseph is “an accepting Father,” because he “accepted Mary unconditionally”. Joseph’s spiritual path “is not one that explains, but one that accepts” — which does not mean that he is “resigned”. Instead, he is “courageously and firmly proactive,” because with the “Holy Spirit’s gift of fortitude,” and full of hope, he is able “to accept life as it is, with all its contradictions, frustrations and disappointments.” In practice, through St. Joseph, it is as if God were to repeat to us: “Do not be afraid!” because “faith gives meaning to every event, however happy or sad,” and makes us aware that “God can make flowers spring up from stony ground.” Joseph “did not look for shortcuts but confronted reality with open eyes and accepted personal responsibility for it.” For this reason, “he encourages us to accept and welcome others as they are, without exception, and to show special concern for the weak” (4). A creatively courageous father, example of love Patris Corde highlights “the creative courage” of St. Joseph, which “emerges especially in the way we deal with difficulties.” “The carpenter of Nazareth”, explains the Pope, “was able to turn a problem into a possibility by trusting in divine providence.” St. Joseph is “the special patron of all those forced to leave their native lands because of war, hatred, persecution and poverty.” As the guardian of Jesus and Mary, Joseph cannot “be other than the guardian of the Church,” of her motherhood, and of the Body of Christ. From St Joseph, “we must learn… to love the Church and the poor” (5). A father who teaches the value, dignity and joy of work “A carpenter who earned an honest living to provide for his family,” St Joseph also teaches us “the value, the dignity and the joy of what it means to eat bread that is the fruit of one’s own labour.” This aspect of Joseph’s character provides Pope Francis the opportunity to launch an appeal in favour of work, which has become “a burning social issue” even in countries with a certain level of well­ being. “there is a renewed need to appreciate the importance of dignified work, of which Saint Joseph is an exemplary patron”. Work “is a means of participating in the work of salvation, an opportunity to 2

hasten the coming of the Kingdom, to develop our talents and abilities, and to put them at the service of society and fraternal communion.” Those who work, he explains, “are cooperating with God himself, and in some way become creators of the world around us.” Pope Francis encourages everyone “to rediscover the value, the importance and the necessity of work for bringing about a new ‘normal’ from which no one is excluded.” Especially in light of rising unemployment due to the Covid­19 pandemic, the Pope calls everyone to “review our priorities and to express our firm conviction that no young person, no person at all, no family should be without work.” (6). A father “in the shadows,” centred on Mary and Jesus Taking a cue from The Shadow of the Father — a book by Polish writer Jan Dobraczyński — Pope Francis describes Joseph’s fatherhood of Jesus as “the earthly shadow of the heavenly Father.” “Fathers are not born, but made” says Pope Francis “A man does not become a father simply by bringing a child into the world, but by taking up the responsibility to care for that child.” Unfortunately, in today’s society, children “often seem orphans, lacking fathers” who are able to introduce them “to life and reality.” Children, the Pope says, need fathers who will not try to dominate them, but instead raise them to be “capable of deciding for themselves, enjoying freedom and exploring new possibilities.” This is the sense in which St Joseph is described as a “most chaste” father, which is the opposite of domineering possessiveness. Joseph, says Pope Francis, “knew how to love with extraordinary freedom. He never made himself the centre of things. He did not think of himself, but focused instead on the lives of Mary and Jesus.”Happiness for Joseph involved a true gift of self: “In him, we never see frustration, but only trust. ... His patient silence was the prelude to concrete expressions of trust. Joseph stands out, therefore, as an exemplary figure for our time, in a world that “needs fathers”. True fathers “refuse to live the lives of their children for them,” and instead respect their freedom. Being a father, says the Pope, “has nothing to do with possession, but is rather a ‘sign’ pointing to a greater fatherhood”: that of the “heavenly Father” (7). 3

A daily prayer to St Joseph… and a challenge In his letter, Pope Francis notes how, “Every day, for over forty years, following Lauds [Morning Prayer]” he has “recited a prayer to Saint Joseph, which expresses devotion and trust, and even poses a certain challenge to Saint Joseph,” on account of its closing words: “My beloved father, all my trust is in you. Let it not be said that I invoked you in vain, and since you can do everything with Jesus and Mary, show me that your goodness is as great as your power.” At the conclusion of his Letter, he adds another prayer to St Joseph, which he encourages all of us to pray together: Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. To you God entrusted his only Son; in you Mary placed her trust; with you Christ became man. Blessed Joseph, to us too, show yourself a father and guide us in the path of life. Obtain for us grace, mercy, and courage, and defend us from every evil. Amen. 8 December 2020, 11:15 From Vatican News

In 1870, Blessed Pope Pius IX declared St. Joseph to be the patron saint of the Universal Church in Quemadmodum Deus. Pope St. John XXIII inserted his name into the Eucharistic Prayer I before the Second Vatican Council, and then in 2013, Pope Francis (in union with the intentions of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) inserted the blessed patriarch’s name into the other three Eucharistic Prayers of the Latin Rite.


Mary answers a prayer and saves a life Pascale


fter experiencing severe pain in my heart, I was recently diagnosed with cardiac ischemia with coronary blockage causing the beginning of heart necrosis (15%). I needed an emergency coronary angiogram to insert a stent. On my way to the hospital, I was very afraid: I have a highly allergic condition that could lead to anaphylactic shock when the contrast fluid is injected. Convinced that I might not survive this operation, I had prepared myself for the eventuality of not waking up from the surgery. While waiting to be wheeled to the operating room, I decided to pray the Our Father... but the nurses came to get me before I could finish it. So I placed myself in the hands of the Virgin Mary and I just said to her: "Mary, I put my life in your hands. I am ready to die but thank you for staying with me... and if you can intervene on my behalf, please pray that my artery is cleared before the operation!"

Immediately I felt "transported" by her infinite love. This experience must have lasted only a few seconds. The surgeon was getting his instruments ready to put a catheter into my heart. I had been warned that the procedure would be long. However, to my amazement, after a few minutes the surgeon announced: "We’re done here, there's nothing wrong with your heart!" He sounded surprised, and I couldn't believe what I was hearing: the blood clot was gone. I tried to make sense of what had happened. To this day, the doctors have no explanation either. I have never felt pain in my heart since. I am personally convinced that my healing was miraculous. I wanted to share my story to give hope to all those who are suffering. Thank you Virgin Mary! Pascale, a French reader of A Moment with Mary, October 2020


A Young Saint for our Time Marie­Helene Cook


arlo Acutis was born on 3 May 1991 in London to Italian parents from Lombardy, who were in England at the time for professional reasons. In September his family returned to Italy and settled in Milan. Although his parents were not practising Catholics, Carlo showed an inclination to prayer. His mother reported: “Since he was around three years old, he showed a strong interest in Christ and in the Holy Virgin. When we used to take a walk outside, he always wanted to enter the church, to say hello to Jesus, and to send kisses to the cross.” “He soon desired to learn more about the faith. I was far from the church”, his mother confessed, “I grew up in a secular family, as millions of people do, I suppose. I was only at Mass for my First Communion, confirmation and marriage.” “It is a mystery. As young as four years old he was so talented, intelligent and asking such deep questions that I felt the desire to deepen my own faith. I can say that Carlo was my little saviour, because thanks to him I became closer to God.” Very early on, he found friends among 6

saints such as Francis of Assisi and Dominique Savio. Later he would describe Our Lady as “the woman of his life”. At the age of seven, he asked to make his first Holy Communion, which was granted to him because of his spiritual maturity. From then on, Carlo attended Mass daily, drawn by a special devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist: “It’s the highway to Heaven”, he would say with a smile. His father recalled, “Think of it! he managed to drag his relatives, his parents to Mass every day. It was not the other way around; it was not his parents bringing the little boy to Mass, but it was he who managed to get himself to Mass and to convince others to receive Communion daily!” "The more Eucharist we receive”, Carlo said, “the more we will become like Jesus, so that on this earth we will have a foretaste of heaven". He went to a secondary school run by Jesuits where he was singled out for his good results, his cheerfulness and his kindness towards everyone. So full was he of love for Jesus that he radiated around him peace and joy, always ready to occupy his free time in helping the elderly and the poorest.

He worried about friends when their parents divorced and would comfort them inviting them to his home. He defended disabled school mates when they were mocked or bullied. His generosity and cheerfulness made him very popular, but he remained humble, acknowledging that it was the work of God not his own. “Happiness is keeping your eyes upon God. Sadness is looking at yourself.” You mustn’t imagine Carlo as someone disconnected from this world; he was a normal child. He grew up like many other children, surrounded by a lot of friends, engaging in football, caring about animals, and fond of video games. His mother said he could teach young people how to properly enjoy video games and other technology, without falling prey to the pitfalls present in the internet and social media: “Because he understood that they were potentially very harmful, very dangerous, he wanted to be the master of these means, not a slave”. He nurtured the virtues of temperance and prudence, which he transmitted to others. His interest in computing, in which he excelled much to the admiration of IT experts, led him to make films and set

up websites (for his parish and for his school), considering the Internet as a means of evangelisation. He extended digital evangelising that he had started as a child­catechist in his parish. Using his skills of “computer geek”, he built a web presentation, with photographs and precise descriptions, of the 136 Eucharistic miracles recognised by the Church. This website became known worldwide: 10,000 parishes in the United States displayed his work, as did Fatima and Guadalupe among other pilgrimage centres. In 2005 he completed this project which he had started compiling at the age of 11. His web site is still accessible at: www.miracolieucaristici.org/galleria /en/galleria.html In 2006, at the age of 15, this young and healthy teenager was diagnosed with a fierce leukaemia type M3. He remained serene; never complaining, he would repeat: “I offer to the Lord the suffering I must undergo for the Pope and the Church.” During Carlo’s illness, his courage in the face of his premature death inspired his mother. “Mum, don’t be afraid,” he said, “because with the Incarnation of Jesus, death became life, and there’s no need to escape: in 7

eternal life, something extraordinary awaits us.” He died in the early morning of 12 October 2006 and was buried in Assisi in accordance with his wishes. During his funeral the church was filled with people of all sorts of backgrounds: Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, including a Hindu named Rajesh, belonging to the Brahmins, which is the highest caste in his community, baptised because he was moved by Carlo’s testimony of faith. On 14 November 2019, the Vatican's Medical Council of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints officially recognised a miracle in Brazil attributed to Carlo’s intercession: Luciana Vianna had taken her son,

Mattheus, born with a pancreatic defect which made eating difficult, to a prayer service. Beforehand, she had already made a novena asking for Carlo’s intercession. Immediately following the service, Mattheus told his mother he felt healed and asked for solid food when he came home – a request which was surprising as he had been surviving on an all­liquid diet. His pancreas had suddenly become normal. After a detailed investigation, the miracle's authenticity was confirmed by Pope Francis in a decree on 21 February 2020, leading to his beatification, which took place 10 October 2020 in Assisi. Marie­Helene Cook

Carlo’s Beatification in Assissi during lockdown

“Our goal must be the infinite, not the finite. The infinite is our homeland.” Carlo Acutis 8

Spiritual Communion By Federico Lombardi (From Vatican news)


hen those of us who are now old were children, during catechism we were often told about “spiritual communion”. They told us that we could unite ourselves spiritually to Jesus who offers Himself upon the altar, even if were not able to make a sacramental communion by receiving physically the consecrated Host. “Spiritual communion” was a religious practice that aimed at making us feel continuously united to Jesus, not only when receiving Communion during Mass, but also at other times and places. It was not an alternative to sacramental Communion, but in a way continued and prepared for it, for example during visits to the Blessed Sacrament or at other times of prayer. But after a certain point in time, we heard practically nothing more about it for decades. The emphasis on participation at Mass by receiving Communion, which is certainly good in itself, had led to other traditional dimensions of Christian devotion

being overshadowed. I began to think again, more intensely, about “spiritual Communion” on one exceptional occasion. During World Youth Day in Madrid in 2011, a sudden storm during the night destroyed most of the tents where the unconsecrated hosts were being prepared in anticipation of the more than two million young people expected for the final Mass. And so, at the main Mass celebrated by the Pope, only a very few of the young people were able to receive sacramental Communion, precisely because there were so few Hosts. Many people were upset, at least at first. It seemed to some as if World Youth Day had failed, because something essential was missing from the culminating religious moment of the event. It took a lot of time and energy to help people understand that, although the physical act of receiving the Sacred Host is exceptionally important, it is not the only, indispensable manner of being 9

united with Jesus and His Body, the Church. Now, during his morning Mass at Santa Marta, Pope Francis encourages the faithful who pray with him, without being physically present, to make a “spiritual Communion”. He does so by proposing one of the traditional formulas that for a long time had been taught by the good spiritual masters of the Christian people: formulas that were familiar to many of our mothers and grandmothers, those who got up early in the morning, sometimes every day, to go to Mass – but who also knew how to remain in union with God, in their own way, in the midst of their daily occupations. Among the memories from the time of my catechism, I am reminded of a holy card with a little picture of a priest raising the consecrated Host in his hands. Around the image, like the hours on a clock, there were the morning hours of different countries and continents where priests would be celebrating Mass. (At the time, Mass was only celebrated in the morning!) It was meant to remind us that the Sacrifice of Jesus, Who died for us, was being continually renewed 10

around the world, and that we could always unite ourselves spiritually with Him and His oblation. “Spiritual Communion”, when one cannot receive sacramental Communion, can also be called “Communion of desire”: desiring that one’s own life be united to Jesus, and especially to His Sacrifice for us upon the Cross. In this prolonged time of Eucharistic fasting that is forced upon us, many people who are accustomed to frequent sacramental Communion are increasingly feeling the lack of the “daily Bread” of the Eucharist. In a truly exceptional way, it has been the Church herself who accepted the burden of imposing this fast on the faithful, as a sign of solidarity and participation in the concerns of entire populations forced into restrictions, privations, and suffering because of the pandemic. Fasting is a deprivation, but it can also be a time of growth. Just as the love of spouses who have long been distant from each other on account of force majeure can lead to growth in fidelity and purity, so too Eucharistic fasting can become a time of growth: growth in faith, growth in desire for the gift of

sacramental Communion, growth in solidarity with those who for whatever reason cannot benefit from it, growth in freedom from habits of carelessness in receiving, in order to come to understand anew that the Eucharist is a free and surprising gift of the Lord

Jesus, neither trivial nor banal, and to desire it with all one’s heart… continually… Can this also be a consequence of these disturbing times? Federico Lombardi (From Vatican news)

Spiritual Communion Prayer My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at the moment receive You sacramentally, come spiritually into my heart. I embrace You and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen

N.B. Spiritual Communion theology is deeply ingrained in the history of the Church. St. Augustine had made the distinction between the visible sign and the invisible spiritual power. In the Middle Ages, when lay people tended to receive Communion only once a year, they were invited to make a spiritual communion at Mass. St. Thomas Aquinas, who was in favour of frequent communion, encouraged spiritual communion as a way to prepare for actual reception of the sacrament.. This proposition was ratified by the Council of Trent, which noted three ways of taking part in communion: sacramentally only, by those who receive the host without proper preparation; spiritually only, by those who are prepared but do not receive the host; and both sacramentally and spiritually, by those who both prepare spiritually and receive the host. “When we feel the love of God growing cold, let us instantly make a Spiritual Communion. When we cannot go to the church, let us turn towards the tabernacle; no wall can shut us out from the good God.” St John­Marie Vianney 11

Reflections on GOOD FRIDAY, Poem by Christina Rosetti Am I a stone and not a sheep That I can stand, O Christ, beneath Thy cross, To number drop by drop Thy blood’s slow loss, And yet not weep? Not so those women loved Who with exceeding grief lamented thee; Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly; Not so the thief was moved; Not so the sun and moon Which hid their faces in a starless sky, A horror of great darkness at broad noon— I, only I. Yet give not o’er, But seek thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock; Greater than Moses, turn and look once more And smite a rock.


nown as the author of the words of the Christmas Carol: "In the Bleak Midwinter", Christina Rossetti also wrote many devotional poems. Good Friday was first published in 1862 when she was 32. The power of this poem lies in the simplicity with which deep truths are expressed. The intensity of feeling is revealed by means of symbols embedded in the scriptures, which vivify the author’s relationship to Christ and through which she implicitly invites her readers to join 12

her in adopting them as their own. ‘Good Friday’ starts with a question, surprising in its abruptness and its significance: “Am I a stone and not a sheep?” The question appears to be more of a statement than an interrogation, a sad statement of an irremediable reality. In the Bible the stone and the sheep are recurrent symbols. The stone, in particular, has multiple meanings. We may wonder what Christina Rossetti really means. Is she thinking of Ezekiel

Ez 36:26 : “I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh”? Or does she allude to the rock that Moses smote to get water, as suggested in the last stanza? She may also be referring to the stone of an altar, which ‘can stand ...beneath’ the Cross, while Christ is offering himself in sacrifice – a stone collecting the drops of His blood without emotion or feeling, cold and lifeless. In the second stanza, Rossetti emphasises this lack of sensitivity by highlighting the difference between the unmoved stone and the women expressing their grief, remorseful Peter, and the repentant thief. The repetition of ‘not so’ like a refrain stresses the discrepancy and accelerates the pace of the poem, which had started almost motionless and passive “to number drop by drop Thy blood’s slow loss”. She conveys despair and even anger at not being able to share the feelings of those who witnessed the Passion. The third stanza opens up a new dimension, almost cosmic. The ‘not so’ introduces the theme of darkness, depicted by the absence of the sources of light (sun, moon and stars).

Even the sun and the moon seem to have human features as they ‘hid their faces”. The three long verses contrast with the fall of the words of the 4th verse: ‘I, only I’, making it even more dramatic and marking a sudden break in pace and tonality; so much so that the reader may feel concerned personally: What about me? Am I fully conscious of the enactment of the sacrifice of Christ at Mass? Am I a stone, unmoved, letting distractions overwhelm me or am I really taking part in this great Mystery of Salvation and Redemption? The fourth stanza, contrastingly, introduces a new tone, that of a prayer, a supplication. The writer turns to God: “give not o‘er” is short and compelling, like a desperate cry for help, which is expanded In the two following verses, where we have a new rhythm. Each verse has two parts: a request and an address. “But seek thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock”: the first part is more than a query; it sounds like a command: ‘seek’, urging God to look for her, who is no longer a stone but a sheep, and not ‘any’ sheep but “Thy sheep”, which indicates her sudden feeling of belonging to the one she calls ‘True Shepherd of the flock’. The appeal “Greater than Moses, turn and look once more”, mirrors the 13

structure of the previous line: it is no longer the request that comes first, it is the address: ‘Greater than Moses’ (Cf. Hebrews 3:3 ‘Jesus has been found worthy of greater honour than Moses’). Then the request follows “turn and look once more“. It is as though the author had moved from focusing on herself to focusing on God. This new attitude is the door to salvation. Interestingly, Rosetti doesn’t call Christ ‘Lord’ or ‘Jesus’, she refers to Him as ‘true Shepherd’ and ‘greater than Moses’ – a reminder that everyone has a personal relation with God, whom they call by a special name – a name that reflects their needs at particular times. Jesus called himself by so many different names (cf. “I am the Resurrection and the Life”, “the Living Bread “etc.). This shows how rich our relationships with Our Lord can be, which never cease to grow at every encounter with Him. The last line comes as a surprise: “And smite a rock.” The abruptness of it leaves the reader in a perplexed


mood. Just as Moses had struck the rock to obtain water, the water that was essential for the Israelites to survive in the desert, the one ‘greater than Moses’ gives us Living Water (John 4:10) The smiting of the rock has therefore become a sign of Hope. During the course of the poem, we see the writer going on a spiritual journey, which takes her from being a passive stone to a lost sheep, from death to life. A journey that doesn’t end there. The sheep needs to be rescued. Curiously, it is when the sheep feels lost that it recognises its need for God, the ‘true Shepherd’? But the sheep has to realise first it is as part of the flock, before it can admit it is lost. By sharing her tribulations, Christina Rossetti has invited us to travel with her, meditate and pray in order to get closer to the True Shepherd, as Pope Francis encourages us to do: “We are his flock, and we must only strive to listen to his voice”. Marie­Helene Cook

Did you know? In Bali, New Year’s Day, Nyepi, is celebrated in silence.


ommemorated according to the Balinese calendar (in 2021, it falls on March 14), it is a day of fasting and meditation to contemplate and cleanse the mind and body. The silence begins at 00:00 hours on 13 March and will go on until the following midnight. No radio, no television, no work, no play; streets are empty; all shops, institutions, services (even the airport) are shut. Activities are allowed only in emergency rooms and the maternity section of hospitals and the arrivals section of the airport. Any emergencies are taken into consideration but the whole island remains in silence. Though a Hindu feast, non Hindus follow this tradition out of respect for their fellow citizens. Tourists are invited to stay in their hotels.

Just imagine Good Friday as a day of silence….


SOLL 2020 AGM – Chairman’s Report 2020 was always going to be a as quickly as possible. challenging year as we made new arrangements for travel from the West Country. As forewarned and recorded in my Chairman’s comments for the 2019 AGM, the practicalities and cost of operating a flight out of Exeter had become untenable; we therefore arranged an alternative group booking on an EasyJet scheduled service out of Bristol. The Society also made bookings, primarily on behalf of our Massabielle group in Keighley, of 60 seats with British Airways, and, on behalf of Holy Family School with Ryanair. Covid of course changed everything. The processes of SOLL are sometimes perceived as – and sometimes are – ponderous, but in 2020 the Society moved with greater rapidity and decisiveness than most. Our participation in the two on­line conferences held by the Lourdes authorities for British pilgrimages this year significantly framed the discussions. The decision made to cancel the pilgrimage on 14 March was ahead of most others, including those who normally go at the same time as us, and was communicated by all media 16

We have for some time asked people to book early. At the time of the cancellation few carriers were providing refunds and it was obvious that those who showed faith in us by already booking faced a long wait (at best) for the return of their money at a time when personal finances would be tight. Therefore, the Council voted for SOLL funds to be provided up front to enable immediate refunds – something that we arranged with our travel agent Tangney Tours (TT), who during the summer pursued reimbursement with carriers (including Titan Airways who operate our Stansted charter) and also utilized credit notes SOLL had received for other business, enabling the Society to be reimbursed. They were under no obligation whatsoever to do so and it should be noted that a credit note is all that has been received by some clients with other pilgrimages. In summary: • SOLL has been refunded for the Ryanair Group booking. • British Airways provided a full and rapid refund. • EasyJet has refunded Tangney Tours. This amount £6,300 has now been refunded to SOLL • Titan Airways (TT) has refunded 50% of the amount paid and

allowed the balance as a credit going forward. This means TT has now refunded £6,187.50 to SOLL and is holding £6,187.50 as a credit for SOLL travel in 2021. So to sum up for 2020: we could come out with nil liability or £6,187.50 as a worst case. At the start of this, it was £18,675. Additionally, apart from the £234.52 commission of Ffestiniog Travel, the Eurostar Rail group booking has been refunded. Recognising the financially parlous position of the shrine, SOLL has made a gift of £10,000 to the Sanctuaries. In lieu of travel to Lourdes we conducted a very well received Virtual Pilgrimage with a reflection of relevance to each day that we would

have spent in Lourdes kindly videoed by Archbishop Kevin and all the clergy who had intended to be on pilgrimage with us. This is still available on our website: www.soll­lourdes.com/soll­virtual­ pilgrimage­2020

We recognised much earlier in the year that “get out of jail” for covid lay in a vaccine. At the time of writing (9 November), it is far from clear when a comprehensive roll out will be completed. Other pilgrimages have cancelled or deferred but we consider this is too early and the preference is to achieve a presence in Lourdes in 2021, albeit inevitably in smaller numbers than usual. It is unlikely that the schools will be able join us, and it is a big ask of the stamina of both medical staff and sick pilgrims to join us in 2021. We don’t pretend to have the answers so we will ask our pilgrims what they wish and are prepared to do and explain the criteria under which it is self­evident whether it is or is not possible for them to go to Lourdes.

To achieve this, we have created a group to work up and communicate options under which some form of extraordinary pilgrimage could take place, and to deliver one of them. Specifically: 1. A letter or email to all, asking which option(s) they would commit to supporting. 2. These scenarios will clearly outline the constraints which would have to be met for them to operate e.g. the no. of nurses and carers prepared to go, cancellation if any 17

form of quarantine introduced, etc. 3. Travel as part of a wider UK group and stay­at­home communications to build solidarity will be included. Additionally, we support overtures from our people in the South West to the Bishop of Plymouth to realign their pilgrimage date with ours. We have interest from a school groupfrom near Christchurch who are very keen to join us in 2022.

The future for now is extremely uncertain. This will continue into the medium term, but beyond then there may be enormous pent­up demand for pilgrims, old and new, to go to Lourdes. Your Society, now in its second century, strives to meet and adapt to the needs of changing times. Dave Farrow Chairman

News from Lourdes The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, which typically receives three million international pilgrims and visitors each year, has struggled financially after all pilgrimages were cancelled during France’s first lockdown. Mgr. Olivier Ribadeau Dumas, rector of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, launched an appeal upon the shrine’s reopening this summer, at a time when the sanctuary faced a forecast loss of $9 million and was struggling to preserve the jobs of its 320 employees, who had already shortened their hours. “For 162 years, Lourdes has been a place of friendship centred on the poor and sick, an unparalleled school of life, service and prayer. It is a spiritual jewel that never ceases to give meaning and hope to our lives,” The Rector said, “The resources of the sanctuary are reliant on the pilgrims who visit the site. Without them, without their offerings and donations, Lourdes cannot exist. The sanctuary was hit by these economic difficulties just after it had returned to financial equilibrium.” Since the Society was able to save on expenditures, because of the cancellation of the 2020 pilgrimage, the Council decided to make a donation of £10,000 to the Lourdes Sanctuary.


Letter of thanks from Mgr Ribadeau Dumas for SOLL’s donation

31 December 2020 Ladies and Gentlemen, dear friends, You love Lourdes; the gift you have just made is a sign of this and I would like to tell you how much the chaplains and I are touched by your generosity. Lourdes is a family, a large family composed of all those who come here on pilgrimage, sick and healthy but beyond that, of all who live in the spirit of Lourdes: the spirit of fraternity, gentleness, respect. Through your gift, you have allowed the Sanctuary to always be a place of welcome, especially for the most fragile of us, where each one, can let themselves be transformed by the smile that Mary addressed to Bernadette during the apparitions and that she addresses to all those who pray to her. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. On the 11th of each month, a Mass is celebrated for the intentions of the Benefactors of the Sanctuary. We will pray for you. Be assured of all my gratitude,


Just imagine Good Friday as a day of silence….Just imagine Good Friday as a day of silence….

te Latest Upda ge 2021 a im r g il P s on Lourde

SOLL had deferred making a decision for our annual pilgrimage in the hope that the current Covid­19 situation would have improved and we could plan with greater confidence. Around the country other groups have had to make similar hard choices. We have been in touch with Lourdes, taken advice from the Lourdes Medical Director and studied the guidance available that explains how they are dealing with potential pilgrimages. SOLL has a duty of care for all pilgrims and helpers and especially those we support and care for in the Accueil. The decision therefore was taken by the SOLL Council to cancel the pilgrimage 2021 in its current form for the following reasons.

• prevailing travel situation • lack of available medical support • complexity of safeguarding people in Lourdes • French Covid­19 restrictions We fully understand and appreciate how upsetting this decision is especially after last year’s cancellation. It is easy to just ‘stop’, but, by doing so, it makes it harder to start again: should 2022 prove to be ‘normal’, three years will have elapsed since our last pilgrimage. Although we may not be travelling far in 2021 it is important to keep the engine running. We will again create a Virtual Pilgrimage for the week we would have been away: Friday 28th May, 2021 to Friday 4th June, 2021. Please keep these dates in your diary.


Additionally, if there is sufficient support from pilgrims we would propose the following: 1. It is possible we might create a “parish type” mini­pilgrimage to Lourdes in May 2021 that would be for a shorter duration. Such a plan would be by its nature small and would be no longer than 4 days, BUT, critically, would not involve the Accueil element. Pilgrims who can travel with independence within this pilgrimage/group and do not need medical or dietary support are eligible to join. The Pilgrimage would comply with the official UK and French travel restrictions in force at the time of travel. SOLL will not provide medical support of any type whatsoever. Bookings will be made via the Travel Agent, and deposits refunded if necessary after a Go/No Go decision taken 6 weeks before departure. 2. Recognising that SOLL has friends from across England we could plan one­day local pilgrimages. • Osmotherley, North Yorkshire. The Lady Chapel Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Grace, Summer 2021 • Hayes, West London, Summer 2021 • Devon (Location to be decided), Summer 2021 3. Finally, it may be possible to create a package and programme for a pilgrimage to Lourdes in the same format as proposal 1 for mid­October 2021. The same restrictions in regard to medical and dietary needs would apply as well as following any Covid­19 restrictions in place at that time. All options will require considerable work by our team and will only proceed if there is sufficient indication of solid support. Please contact the Society by email, phone, or easiest of all by using the link on our website: www.soll­lourdes/NEWS AND DONATE, ideally by Friday 19th February, to register your interest in one or more of the above three options stating, for option 2, which local pilgrimage you would support. Dave Farrow


Please visit our website: www.soll­lourdes.com It will keep you up to date with: ­ news of the Society, ­ events and updates for 2021, ­ projects, ­ prayers and spiritual documents, ­ virtual pilgrimage in 2020, tweets, ­ pictures and videos of our past pilgrimages, ­ various accounts including the report by Nick Edwards, the Deputy Head of St Michaels Catholic High School. Among other presentations, don’t miss the virtual tour of Lourdes! You can also contribute to the life of the website by including your stories in the Spiritual tab in the menu towards the top of the page. The website has been set up by John Mitchell, whom you can contact at: john.mitchell@soll-lourdes.com

AN EASY WAY TO HELP THE SOCIETY OF OUR LADY OF LOURDES Amazon Smile is the charitable side of Amazon. Everything on Smile is exactly the same as the main Amazon website. You log into Smile with your normal Amazon login details. When you first visit smile.amazon.co.uk, you will be prompted to select your charity, you only have to do this once. Then just shop as normal. Or you can use this link, which will take you straight to our landing page: https://smile.amazon.co.uk/ch/1086419-0 Amazon Smile will donate 0.5% of the net purchase price (excluding VAT and shipping fees) of eligible Amazon Smile purchases to the charity selected by the customer. Not everything is an eligible purchase. It will tell you next to the product description if your item is eligible. Our Amazon donations are paid electronically every quarter.

Even if you don’t personally purchase on Amazon, you can recommend this to your friends and families by sending them a photo of this page with your phone or emailing them a photocopy of the page. It would help the Society to give grants to sick pilgrims who can’t afford the cost of the pilgrimage to Lourdes. 22


We have been officially informed that

A Mass for the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes will take place in Westminster Cathedral on Saturday, February 13th. There will be no congregation but It will be livestreamed and full details will be put on the Cathedral website nearer the time. Please watch out for details on our website: www.soll­lourdes.com

Let us pray for our sick friends Geraldine Taylor, Alan & Mary Daws, Patrick Cobbe, Mary Lay, Lourda O'Leary, Annette Hamill, Mary McCarthy, Fieke van den Berg,

Bridie Murphy, Hazel Gray, Trevor Lee­Yow, Bill Tomlinson, Jade Prisk, Veronica Mascarenhas, Theresa Mangan, Julie Munnelly,

Walter McNeela, Bill Metcalf. Norman Wearing, Tom Connell, Win Corrigan, Philomena Rodgers & Family, Tim Tobin.

They have arrived: Norman Thérèse John Kevin Yvonne Ewa Beryl Maria Hanna Norman Sr Catherine Theresa Newlyn Tom Rita Mary Raymond

Barnard de Casagrande Dolan Fox Gajewska Gaunt Golaszewska Hale Hawkins Hendry Hussey Lee Yow McCarthaigh McCormack O'Connell Rodgers

Sick Pilgrim Retired Handmaid Life Friend Sick Pilgrim Official Carer Retired Handmaid Retired Handmaid Retired Nurse Helper (B) Helper (HM) Sick Pilgrim Retired Handmaid Helper Sick Pilgrim Sick Pilgrim Friend 23

Society of Our Lady of Lourdes Responsables ­ 2021 President His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster

Officers of the Council Chairman – Dave Farrow Vice Chairman ­ Phil Unwin Hon. Secretary – Lucy Wearing Hon. Treasurer – John Perkins Other Members of the Council Simon Chandler, Sacha Hayward, Liam Judge, Steve Kelly, John Mitchell, Danny Murphy, Kiran Rajalingham, Katrina Roberts, Ruth Rockey, Spiritual Leader The Most Reverend Archbishop Kevin McDonald

Special Responsibilities Data Protection Adviser: Allan Cook Friendship Recruitment Manager – Mark Blathwayt Fundraising Organisers – Kiran Rajalingham & Simon Chandler Insurance Advisor & Website Controller – John Mitchell Investment Committee – John Perkins, Sacha Hayward, John Mitchell (advisers: Mary Tomlin and Allan Cook) Liturgy Group Leader – Michael Chute Massabielle Groups – Steve Kelly Office Manager – Ray Harrison Pilgrims’Way Editor – Marie Helene Cook Schools Liaison & Safeguarding – Danny Murphy


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Centenary Club Winners July 2020 1st Pauline Collie (21) 2nd Clare Barnwell (14) 3rd Anne Mann (9) 4th Elizabeth Price (2)

October 2020 1st Paddy Phelan (3) 2nd Chris Hay (56) 3rd Elizabeth Price (22) 4th Michael Hennessey (7)

August 2020 1st Tim Edwards (1) 2nd Alex Hinton (11) 3rd Anne Mann (9) 4th Sean Gilligan (45)

November 2020 1st Chris Hay (36) 2nd Anne Mann (9) 3rd Michael Hennessey (18) 4th Alex Hinton (11)

September 2020 1st Ken Hay (46) 2nd Daniel Crowley (20) 3rd Elizabeth Price (22) 4th Chris Hay (36)

December 2020 1st Elizabeth Price (22) 2nd Michael Hennessey (7) 3rd Pauline Collie (49) 4th Claire Power (30)

The Society of Our Lady of Lourdes is a Company Limited by Guarantee and a Registered Charity. Company Reg. No. 4156243 Charity Reg. No.1086419


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