Oblate Pilgrimage to Lourdes postponed to 2021
Dear Fellow Pilgrim,
It is with regret and disappointment that we have no option but to postpone our 2020 Pilgrimage to Lourdes until 2021, due to the Covid 19 pandemic.
Government and health authorities, both in Ireland and France, have placed restrictions on the movement of people and have introduced physical distancing as a means of reducing the spread of the virus.
Many staff members are presently engaged caring for the sick and the dying and it would be unfair to ask that they would volunteer to care for the sick on pilgrimage this year. Even if this terrible virus has been overcome, many of our frontline workers would be due a richly deserved rest. Confidence in air travel and hotel accommodation in general has been considerably eroded and it would be difficult to put a core pilgrimage together. Indeed it would be reckless to try and build a pilgrimage in these uncertain times as so many factors are outside of our control.
It has to be said as well that the Sanctuary in Lourdes remains locked until at least 31st August in adherence to French Government regulations and the closure may continue beyond that date.
It is in the light of these and other measures but above all, the health and safety of all pilgrims that this decision has to be made.
The Executive Committee of United Irish Pilgrimages to Lourdes has reflected too on the current situation with the leadership of all those pilgrimages who travel to Lourdes in August/September and the clear consensus is that there is no other option but to postpone our Diocesan/Religious Order Pilgrimages and reschedule for agreed dates in 2021. The scheduled date for the Oblate Pilgrimage is 17th to 22nd September 2021.
Thank you for your support and understanding. As we remember the dead, the dying and the sick, let us trust in our loving God, seeking our Blessed Lady’s help and protection and the intercession of St. Bernadette.
Fr. Lorcán O’Reilly OMI