DIOCESE OF LANCASTER LOURDES PILGRIMAGE
THE DIOCESE OF LANCASTER LOURDES PILGRIMAGE 2021
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Position Statement 02.02.21
Once again, it is with a heavy heart and after great deliberation we inform you that due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 pilgrimage to Lourdes has been POSTPONED AND RESCHEDULED to 22nd July 2022. This decision has been made in collaboration with Bishop Paul and our Tour Operator Joe Walsh Tours.
We know this decision will come as a deep disappointment and sadness to all of you; but not unexpected. We want to reassure you that the health and welfare of our pilgrims has been at the very centre of our deliberations. The biggest risk posed is of course to our sick and frail pilgrims. However, we must also consider our volunteer groups. Certainly the medical team (who are already under great pressure and added demands during this pandemic) and the youth section are areas we have particular concerns for. All in all, our risk assessment for travelling abroad is currently very high for all pilgrims at this moment in time. We know some of you may we thinking that we could be in a much better position by July. Whilst the covid-19 vaccination programmes offers us light at the end of the tunnel, we do not know when and if our volunteer groups will be offered vaccination and there as still so many unknowns around the vaccinations generally. We simply must make a decision for July now as pilgrimage planning requirements, such as booking aeroplanes, reserving whole floors in hotels etc. does not allow for us to make a late decision.
We are most grateful to Joe Walsh Tours for their kind response to our request to reschedule and indeed their efficient management of this crisis situation. Our decision will impact upon everyone but especially all those who have already carried their bookings forward from 2020 to 2021. The default position is to carry forward all bookings already made to the 2022 pilgrimage. However, Joe Walsh Tours will be offering refunds to those to request one. Letters will be send out to all pilgrims from the Tour Operator in due course, please do not contact them regards your refund until the letters have been sent. For your information and consideration, we are informed that there will have to be an increase in prices for 2022, due to the £/€ exchange and the inevitable rise in accommodation costs. This will not however impact on bookings carried over from 2020 to 2022.
Once again, we hope to be able to come together in a Virtual Pilgrimage 2021 during the time we should have been united in Lourdes. We will keep you informed of events on our Facebook page and website www.lancasterlourdes.co.uk as the time nears.
Until then, please pray for all our Lancaster Lourdes family, the wider Diocese and indeed the World, as we continue to face substantial loss and pain. In particular, may we petition the prayers of our Mother of Mercy, health of the sick, comforter of the afflicted and patroness of our Diocese; Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us.
Fr Peter Sayer (Executive Director)
Linda Wisdom (Director of Operations)
Nikki Wisdom (Chief Nurse)