189 pilgrims from all over the Killaloe Diocese travelled in two separate flights from Shannon Airport for the Autumn Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes on Sunday 1st October. All flights arrived on time and pilgrims gathered in St Joseph’s Chapel for an evening Mass. Pilgrims from the parish, who are part of the Killaloe Diocesan Autumn Pilgrimage, began the first full day of their pilgrimage with the opening Mass celebrated by Fr. Tom in Mater Dolorosa Chapel. After Mass pilgrims had the opportunity for walking the The Way of The Cross. In the afternoon it time for Reconciliation with the opportunity for individual confession. The evening saw pilgrims taking part in the Marian Torchlight Procession. Canon Brendan concluded the day with night prayer and Rosary at the Grotto. Fr. Pat Mulcahy PP Lorrha, was the celebrant of Tuesday morning Mass in the Rosary Basilica. After Mass the pilgrims gathered on the steps for the traditional family pilgrimage photograph. Free time is very much part of the pilgrimage to allow pilgrims visit the grotto, go to the baths, socialize or rest. In the afternoon the Diocese participated in the Blessed Sacrament Procession in the Underground Basilica praying in a very special way for the sick. The evening gathering was in the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception where Fr Brendan Quinlivan led an hour of prayer in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. The day concluded with Fr. Tom leading night prayer and Rosary at the Grotto. Wednesday 4th October, the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, began with the celebration of Mass at the Grotto presided over by Fr Brendan Quinlivan.
The Mass was broadcast live on the World Wide Web. This day was also the opening day of the French National Rosary Pilgrimage led by the Dominican Order. Thousands of French people from teenagers assisting the sick to people of all ages participated; the colour and the beauty of the culture was very encouraging to see and experience. Such exposure to celebrating faith is really uplifting. In the glorious sunshine of the day many pilgrims took a half day to experience the beauty of the Pyrenees. The day concluded with night prayer and Rosary opposite the Grotto. Thursday began with pilgrims travelling to the City of the Poor for the celebration of the Eucharist and the Sacrament of the Sick. Fr. Tom was the celebrant and in the afternoon pilgrims had free time. Pilgrims all week mingled with French pilgrims on the Rosary Pilgrimage.
One of the ideas shared with pilgrims were the presence of young people in different areas of the sanctuary area handing out sheets and pen for people to write and hang their petitions and prayers hang on prayer tree located beside the statue of the Crown Virgin. The day concluded with the farewell ceremony, the blessing of the Pilgrimage candle and the blessing of religious objects. Pilgrims walked in procession praying the Rosary as the pilgrimage. The Pilgrimage candle was brought to the Grotto. Ray & Sadie Smyth from the parish of Shannon and regular pilgrims on the Autumn pilgrimage had the honour of lighting the pilgrimage candle as they celebrate 60 years of Marriage this year.