Catholics across the Archdiocese can sample the special Lourdes experience by taking part in a virtual pilgrimage.

The innovative online idea has been organised by the Pilgrimage & Hospitalité Committees to make up for the disappointment of having to cancel the annual French trip due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A spokesperson for the committees said: "The Pilgrimage & Hospitalité Committees have put together an experience to re-create our Pilgrimage with Masses, prayers, videos and interactive events. These will take place during the week when we would have been in Lourdes (10-17 July), and we bring this to you virtually by using our website, Facebook and Zoom.

"It would mean a lot to us if you could join us on the appropriate day and at the scheduled time - so that as many of us as possible are joining in spirit together."

Mass will be celebrated by different priests, including Mgr Tony Duffy, Fr Paul Lee, Fr James Tracey, Fr Jeremy Bath and Fr Alex Davie. There will also be a Eucharistic Procession, a quiz night and even a Zoom sing-song!

Archbishop Cushley, who would normally travel with fellow pilgrims to the French holy site (see below), will celebrate the closing Mass.

He recently sent a message of support to pilgrims who missed out on this year's event, saying: "Not being able to get to Lourdes this year for our summer pilgrimage has been disappointing, yet necessary.

"These are difficult times, but we should not lose heart. Our consolation is Our Lady of Lourdes, the Health of the Sick, so we move forward with quiet confidence in our faith and remain rooted in prayer."

The virtual Lourdes pilgrimage takes place 10-17 July. To find out how to take part, visit the Lourdes virtual pilgrimage page.