16th March 2020.
CORVID- 19 Statement from The Irish Pilgrimage Trust
3rd March 2020.
It is with great sadness that due to the situation with the corona virus the Board of Trustees have taken the decision to cancel our pilgrimage to Lourdes at Easter.
I know this will cause great disappointment but the wellbeing of our guests and everyone travelling as part of the pilgrimage has to take priority.
Thank you for your commitment to the Trust and for your understanding at this time.
I sincerely hope we will see you in Lourdes in 2021.
Trust Chairperson, The Irish Pilgrimage Trust
Since 1972 groups have travelled from all over Ireland on Easter Sunday and participated in a unique week in Lourdes. Together with friends from the wider community of HCPT, over five thousand pilgrims enjoy this unique experience every year. In 2012 The Trust was honoured by our 40th anniversary of travelling to Lourdes by celebrating Mass in the underground basilica on Thursday morning. The theme for 2012 Pilgrimage was Praying the Rosary with Bernadette.
The groups share a wonderful fun filled week together that includes playing games on the Prairie, a day trip up the Mountains, fancy-dress parties, large Masses full of music and colour, the Candlelight procession, visits to the Grotto and sharing in the water from the spring that Bernadette uncovered in 1858. While no week is the same year after year and no group follows the same programme, there are certain characteristics which make up a visit with The Trust to Lourdes.
Each pilgrim with The Trust is assigned to a group and are identified in Lourdes by their group number. From the first moment at the airport each pilgrim becomes familiar with this number and wears it with pride during the week in Lourdes. While there can be a certain reservation by 'new' comers at the beginning of the week within a few days it becomes the most natural thing in the world.
Often it is only when we return to Irish soil that we become self-conscious of walking around with funny hats, colourful sweatshirts and numbers!