Great news for the Archdiocesan Virtual Lourdes Pilgrimage - the office of Pope Francis has granted a plenary indulgence for those attending!
Archbishop Cushley last week petitioned the Vatican to ask that pilgrims who take part in the week-long online event from this Friday may receive the indulgence under the usual conditions.
Kris Thomas, one of the pilgrimage organisers, said: "We are delighted to announce that following a request from our pilgrimage doctor Monica Bald, and with support of an official request from Archbishop Cushley, the office of Pope Francis has given the gift of indulgences to the faithful who participate fully in the virtual pilgrimage."
Archbishop Cushley said: "The Covid-19 crisis meant we could not travel this year. But, inspired by the request of a member of the Archdiocesan Lourdes group, we decided to approach the Holy Father’s office.
"The result is that the initial disappointment of being unable to go on pilgrimage has been transformed in a very positive way.
"Pilgrimages are important to us as an expression of that journey of faith throughout our lives, so thanks to all the members of the Lourdes group who have been working hard behind the scenes to make the virtual pilgrimage happen.”
It's the first time since 1975 that the pilgrimage to the French holy site from our Archdiocese has not taken place. Instead organisers have put together a packed programme of interactive events.You can join in each day in spirit and in prayer for all of the major liturgies as well as the social events that add so much to the pilgrimage.
Each year around 250 pilgrims from the Archdiocese join together for the annual pilgrimage.
In his petition, Archbishop Cushley said: "Since many of the faithful and the sick are disappointed not to travel to Lourdes this year, I know that such a spiritual gift from the Church would be a great consolation to them."
An indulgence is described in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
"An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints."(CCC 1471)