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Letter from Bishop 2019

Lourdes

LETTER TO BE READ AT ALL MASSES ON WEEKEND 19/20TH OF JANUARY

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

One hundred and seventy-five years ago, Bernadette Soubirous was born into a loving and faith filled family in the relative comfort of the Boly Mill in the small town of Lourdes.

Circumstances change as we know, and so the Soubirous family fell into abject poverty and were forced to live in the Cachot, a damp and unhealthy room in a former prison cell. Despite all the hardships of loss and poverty, of sickness and adversity the family stayed close together in love and in prayer. In the face of their difficulties, they also stayed close to God.

The Pastoral Theme of Lourdes 2019 calls us to follow the same path that Mary offered to Bernadette, an Easter path, to die to our old self, to discover true life and Happiness. The path that Bernadette followed and points us to, is a pilgrim path, it's a way that focuses not on ourselves but on others.

To really set out on this path we have to de-clutter, there is no room for a bag filled with sellfish ambition where we claim privileged positions. On the pilgrim path to Lourdes we are asked to empty ourselves and open our hearts to the riches of God's gifts. The path calls for a revolution of the heart, where the master becomes the servant and washes the feet of the poorest; and along the way discover we are loved by the same God.

For the past one hundred and seventy-five years, rich and poor, young and old have strained to carry the stretchers of the infirmed, those who are called "our VIPs, the sick.

With open hearts and outstretched hands we are invited to go to the Grotto and contemplate the other world as Bernadette did and receive the same promise, happiness in God's kingdom.

It is my honour to launch the 51st Ferns Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes and to invite you to be part of these wonderful and blessed few days, in that place made holy, by the visit of the Mother of our Lord. The pilgrimage takes place from the 11th to 16th of May 2019.

Application forms for the Invalid Section are available in your paarish and information posters are published in each Church.

With every good wish, I remain

Yours Sincerely,

+ Denis Brennan
Bishop of Ferns



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