My experience of Lourdes as a first timer was an overwhelming feeling of welcome: I didn’t feel like I was an outsider. I came to Lourdes not really knowing what to expect, and was a person who thought work was the be all and end all. Leaving Lourdes was emotional to say the least. But I know I wouldn’t have felt the peace I feel now had I not gone to Lourdes.”

The Diocese of Brentwood organises pilgrimages to Lourdes and Walsingham every year.

Due to Covid-19, this year’s pilgrimage was at home: ‘Lourdes at your local’ took place during the last week of July and was hosted by the Brentwood Catholic Youth Service. A Mass was celebrated each morning at 11am, with Anointing of the Sick and joyful music, followed by coffee and refreshments. These were streamed online each evening, as well as Daily Rosary, a Torchlight Procession and Talent Show. The Masses took place in Leigh-on-Sea, Clacton-on-Sea, Canning Town, Wanstead and Brentwood, and all ages were welcome, with particular invitation to those who had been housebound or shielding over the last year.

To read more about the 2021 pilgrimage, go to: ‘Local’ Lourdes brings grace and healing across Diocese – Brentwood Diocese (