In 1923 the first official Diocesan pilgrimage set off from Liverpool for Lourdes, making it the earliest and most continual pilgrimage from England, interrupted only by the period of the Second World War. Since then, many thousands of pilgrims have faithfully made their way to the small town of Lourdes in the foothills of the Pyrenees, following the request of Our Lady to St. Bernadette in 1858 to ‘come here in procession’.
Always pointing us towards Jesus Christ, her Son, Our Lady of Lourdes calls us to prayer, penance, the Eucharist and life in the Church. As a result, Lourdes is a place of healing, both spiritual and physical. From the very beginning, even while the Apparitions were still taking place, those who were sick or suffering from infirmities of one kind or another came to the Grotto of Massabielle to wash in the waters of the spring uncovered by Bernadette as instructed by Our Lady.
Since then, many changes have taken place in Lourdes, but those who are sick have remained at the heart of its mission. So too, our own Pilgrimage has faced many challenges over the years, most notably in modes of transport, but always with its focus on the service of those who are sick and helping them to experience the peace and joy of this holy place.
Most recently, in 2002, the Liverpool Archdiocesan Lourdes Pilgrimage Association was established as an independent charity, and registered with the Charity Commission of England and Wales. The Charity Registration Number is: 1091132.
Its objectives are:
1. The advancement of the Roman Catholic religion and relief of sickness and suffering, with the purpose of promoting and organising pilgrimages to Lourdes, including raising funds to subsidise such pilgrimages for those who are sick or handicapped together with their carers.
2. Such other charitable purposes as the Trustees may from time to time determine and are connected with the charitable work of the charity.
The Trustees are the members of the Pilgrimage Executive.
In furtherance of its charitable objectives the Trustees may:
1. Raise funds, and invite and receive contributions, provided that they do not undertake any substantial permanent trading activity;
2. Buy, take on lease or exchange, hire or otherwise acquire any property necessary for the achievement of the objectives, and maintain and equip it for use;
3. Sell, lease or otherwise dispose of all or any part of the property;
4. Borrow money and charge the whole or any part of the Trust fund with its repayment;
5. Co-operate with other charities, voluntary bodies and statutory authorities operating in furtherance of the objectives, or similar charitable purposes, and to exchange information and advice with them;
6. Establish or support any charitable trusts, associations or institutions formed for the objectives or any one of them;
7. Appoint and constitute such advisory committees as the Trustees may think fit;
8. Employ such staff as are necessary for the proper pursuit of the objectives;
9. Delegate to any one or more of the Trustees any business or the required to be performed in the execution of the trusts of the charity;
10. Do all such other lawful things as are necessary for the achievement of the objectives.