killaloe-pilgrimage-2016The Killaloe Diocesan Autumn Pilgrimage to Lourdes takes place this week. Over 200 hundred pilgrims from across the Diocese of Killaloe departed from Shannon Airport on Sunday 2 October, to return on Friday 7 October. 

This year marks the 60th year of pilgrimages to Lourdes from the Diocese of Killaloe.

Bishop Fintan Monahan, newly ordained Bishop of Killaloe, sent his blessings to the pilgrims from Maynooth, where he is attending his first General Meeting of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference.

On their pilgrimage to Lourdes, the pilgrims will celebrate Mass at the Grotto of the Apparition and in the Basilica of the Most Holy Rosary and partake in the Torchlight Marian Procession.

In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, all pilgrims to Lourdes will also have the special opportunity to enter through the Door of Mercy which is located at Saint Michael’s gate, near the Breton Cross in the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Lourdes, a small market town lying in the foothills of the Pyrenees, rose to prominence in 1858 due to the Marian apparitions seen by Bernadette Soubirous, who was later canonized. 

Today, Lourdes hosts around six million visitors every year from all corners of the world. 

This constant stream of pilgrims and tourists has transformed Lourdes into the second most important centre of tourism in France, second only to Paris, and the third most important site of international Catholic pilgrimage after Rome and the Holy Land.