Fifty young faithful have taken up the invitation of Bishop Philip to host this year’s diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes. The young people themselves are tasked with inviting everyone in the diocese to join their journey to the grotto of Massabielle, where Our Lady appeared to little Bernadette all those years ago. The invitation goes out in particular to the VIPs –those carrying Christ’s cross through sickness and infirmity. 

The customary activities of the pilgrimage will be on in full force: liturgies, baths, torchlight procession, Eucharistic procession etc. But in addition, there will be a time of daily catechesis for all the pilgrims, led by the young people. This youth-focused pilgrimage is “based on the vision for new evangelisation” said Father PJ Smith, Head of Educational Chaplaincies. 

“While it contains all the elements of the traditional pilgrimage that we all know and love, it also has this notion of incarnational relationship, namely, that the relationship we have with the Lord strengthens the relationship we have with our neighbour."

The young people’s desire

is to serve the Lord by serving their neighbour.


The aim of the pilgrimage is twofold. “We hope that it will allow the young people to grow in their love of the Lord, of the Church, and give them a greater understanding of the commandment ‘Love Thy Neighbour,’” Father Smith explained. “Also, like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, we hope that the pilgrims will recognise Christ in their young neighbours who are reaching out to serve them, and experience a strengthening and renewal in the vibrancy and joy that our youth will bring to the liturgies.”

So far, around 60 people have booked on to this summer’s pilgrimage which takes place from July 24 to 30 and includes travel, hotel accommodation and meals. The pilgrimage will be led by Bishop Philip and Father PJ and supported by members of the Youth Ministry team and as well as several members of the Fellowship of Christian University Students.

For more details or to book a place contact Father PJ Smith on 07780 221686 or email

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