Cardinal Vincent was joined by the four Auxiliary Bishops of Westminster to celebrate Mass in honour of Our Lady of Lourdes at Westminster Cathedral on 6 February 2016. This was the first Mass celebrated by all five bishops since the Episcopal Ordination of Bishop Paul McAleenan and Bishop John Wilson on 25 January 2016.
Other concelebrants included Fr Dennis Touw, the Director of the Diocesan Lourdes Pilgrimage and recently appointed President of the Conference of British Lourdes Pilgrimage Directors.
The Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick was conferred by the celebrants during Mass.
Bishop John Sherrington gave the homily in which he reflected on Lourdes as a place that ‘both restores and encourages faith’ as you witness the care and compassion with which young people and medical staff serve pilgrims.
He went on to consider the gospel at Mass, the wedding at Cana, where Mary presents to Jesus ‘the needs of the embarrassed spouses when the wine had run out’. We are invited to ‘entrust ourselves to the merciful Jesus just as Mary did’, particularly in this Jubilee Year of Mercy when ‘the Lord comes to touch and heal our hearts so that we may have the courage to walk more closely to him in the months ahead’.
Returning to the theme of Our Lady of Lourdes, Bishop John reflected: ‘Every time a mother looks after a sick child or a child cares for a frail parent; every time the sick are tended and the tasks of caring completed; Mary watches over and desires to help by telling Jesus of our needs.’
At the end of Mass, Cardinal Vincent thanked all who make the Annual Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes possible, particularly recognising Gerald Daly who recently retired as Pilgrimage Administrator after many years of tireless service.
The full text of Bishop John's homily can be read here.