My dear friends,
Welcome to this week’s Bishop’s Blog!
This Friday 260 pilgrims from across our Diocese leave the UK for France to be part of our annual Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes.
Embarking on pilgrimage will always involve making sacrifices and enduring hardships. The same is true for us as pilgrims to Lourdes; the sacrifices we make to be part of this great witness to Faith will be richly rewarded in so many unexpected ways!
The pastoral theme for all pilgrims coming to Lourdes in 2015 is ‘Lourdes – the joy of mission’ and so we try to focus our pilgrimage along this annual guidance given to us from the shrine authorities.
True conversion is always Almighty God’s initiative. The first step for us as pilgrims on the road to conversion is to recognise our need for Almighty God and His call to live even better – and happier – lives for ourselves and others, and to be open to the grace which Almighty God offers to each of us for this to become a reality.
Conversion involves a new beginning which opens up a path to fullness of life and truth. It may involve the re-discovering of relationships that have become hidden or damaged because of our life experiences of hurt or personal struggles with sin and sickness.
During our week of pilgrimage together the Sacraments of the Church make available for us through our liturgy, silence and music the grace necessary for such a conversion.
It’s true the inward grace we receive in the Sacraments becomes an outward sign made visible in the healing of body and soul and bears fruit in the ways we live out our relationship with Almighty God and one another.
This can only be a source of joy for all! As it was for Saint Bernadette, may we be open to what Our Blessed Lady asks of us as she directs our gaze once more to her Divine Son that we too may experience the fullness of joy in His presence – and as part of His mission.
With an assurance of our prayers for all we take with us to Mary’s shrine – you and your intentions will be remembered at the Grotto!
As ever in Christ our Lord,
+Michael G Campbell OSA
Bishop of Lancaster
P.S. This is the last blog post here until September.