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Fr Paddy: Kildare and Leighlin Pilgrimage to Lourdes – a place of serenity

St Bernadette, of Lourdes once said “If one dream should fall and break into a thousand pieces… never be afraid to pick one of those pieces up and begin again.

That’s the beauty of being alive… We can always start all over again. Enjoy God’s amazing opportunities bestowed on us. Have faith in Him always”

From July 16th-21st, the second annual pilgrimage to Lourdes takes place. Hundreds of pilgrims from the 56 parishes of our Diocese, accompanied by Bishop Denis, will take time to reflect, renew and avail of Gods healing spirit….. Lourdes is a scared place, that affords us all, every year on our annual pilgrimage, time to receive the many blessings and graces that flows freely from the living waters of Gods unending reservoir that heals and renews the bits and pieces of our broken lives.

I’m sure over these days many will visit painful wounds contained within us all, be they physical, emotional or spiritual.

The sacrament of the sick is a profound acknowledgement that we are all at times vulnerable and somewhat fragile.

Lourdes is a celebration not of our strengths and successes but rather a place of acceptance and serenity, where its ok not to be ok.

Where those who need wheelchair assistance get priority where we celebrate Jesus who identifies with great empathy those who carry the heavy crosses.

Come to me all you who labour and are overburdened is precisely what Lourdes is all about.

It is in moments like this Jesus reminds us we are never alone, that his grace and presence is greater than any burden, by his wounds we are healed…..

Be assured of our prayers during this sacred time….

Prayer of Saint Bernadette

“Let the crucifix be not only in my eyes and on my breast, but in my heart.O Jesus! Release all my affections and draw them upwards. Let my crucified heart sink forever into Thine and bury itself in the mysterious wound made by the entry of the lance.”

Prayer to St. Bernadette

O Saint Bernadette, who, as a meek and pure child, did eighteen times at Lourdes contemplate the beauty of the Immaculate Mother of God and received her messages, and who afterwards wished to hide yourself from the world in the convent of Nevers, and to offer thyself there as a victim for the conversion of sinners, obtain for us the grace of purity, simplicity and mortification that we also may attain to the vision of God and of Mary in Heaven. Amen

The following thought is positive and freely available for us all……..

I have in my hands two boxes,

Which God gave me to hold.

He said, “Put all your sorrows in the black box,

And all your joys into the gold.”

I heeded His words, and in the two boxes
Both my joys and sorrows I stored,
But though the gold became heavier each day,
The black was as light as before.

With curiosity, I opened the black.
I wanted to find out why,
And I saw, in the base of the box, a hole
Which my sorrows had fallen out by.

I showed the hole to God and mused,
“I wonder where my sorrows could be?”
He smiled a gentle smile and said,
“My child, they’re here with me.”

I asked God why He gave me the boxes,
Why the gold and the black with the hole?
“My child, the gold is for you to count your blessings.
The black is for you to let go.”

SEE ALSO – Fr Paddy: A very clever dog

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Fr Paddy is a curate in the hugely vibrant Portlaoise Parish. From Carlow town, he was educated in Carlow CBS and studied Business and Politics in Trinity College Dublin before training to be a priest in Carlow College. He is the youngest priest in the Kildare & Leighlin diocese and writes for a number of media outlets. He has almost 14,000 followers on Twitter.