|Two Lourdes Helpers mark the spot for the benches in Lourdes in front of the Accueil
©Diocese of Arundel & Brighton Lourdes Pilgrimage Trust
On Friday 29th July Bishop Richard Moth from the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton joins with 750 pilgrims from Sussex and Surrey as they make their way to the Shrine of Our Lady in Lourdes, Southern France. The theme of the pilgrimage this year is ‘Be Merciful Like the Father.’ The pilgrims both sick, disabled and able bodied go to Lourdes to encounter God not just in the Masses, prayers and other religious activities, but also in each other.
There will be a special event as part of the Arundel & Brighton Lourdes Diocesan pilgrimage as the Lourdes authorities have bestowed a singular honour on Lady Sarah Clutton RIP by agreeing that two benches will be erected in her memory and placed in front of the Accueil which welcomes sick and disabled pilgrims. After 37 years of service to the Arundel & Brighton Pilgrimage, this is a fitting tribute to Lady Sarah following her retirement from leadership of the pilgrimage and her subsequent death in 2015.
The idea of benches came from some of Lady Sarah's Arundel friends who have been regular pilgrims to Lourdes. A letter was sent to the Rector of Lourdes asking if we could erect a bench in her honour, and he came back with a positive response with one condition - it had to be two benches not one! The reason for this is that the Accueil is a symmetrical building with 2 wings and the positioning of the benches will reflect that (see picture).
This year on the 2016 Pilgrimage between 29th July to 4th August the benches will be blessed by Bishop Richard. He said: “This is a fitting tribute to someone who spent herself untiringly for the sick and disabled over many years, and who helped to shape the Arundel & Brighton Lourdes Pilgrimage into what it is today.”
You can see more photos of the event on the Lourdes website www.ablourdes.org