Catholic Diocese of Cork and Ross, Ireland

On Monday morning September 25th at 9am (our time) Bishop Fintan and the Cork and Ross pilgrims at Lourdes will celebrate Mass at the Grotto in Lourdes (where Our Lady appeared to St Bernadette).

It's also the Feast day of St Finbarr.

You can join the Mass live hereYou can join the Mass live here 

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!

The pilgrimage medical and nursing team who look after the sick in Lourdes on the pilgrimage.The pilgrimage medical and nursing team who look after the sick in Lourdes on the pilgrimage.

Day Two in Lourdes had the groups' first opportunity to celebrate Mass in one of the chapels across the river from the Grotto

Bishop Fintan Gavin was the principal celebrant.

Many of the pilgrims were involved in the various liturgical roles: singing, music, reading, leading prayer, processions, stewarding, assisting those who needed help.

This chapel is very near the special hospital; where the pilgrims who need assistance are accommodated. 

After Mass, everyone headed for the front of the Basilica where the traditional group photos are professionally taken. 

Many homes across the diocese have some of these photos which were taken during pilgrimages over the years. Collectively, they tell of the faithful response of the people of our diocese to Mary's invitation to "come here to bathe and to pray".

Marauding forces from overseas tried to stop it. The supression of Catholicism made it a crime. Even bishops declared at times that was a sin to go there!

But going to Gougane Barra to pray has been a constant for over 1,400 years.

In recent decades it's well known as a special place to celebrate the Sacrament of Marriage – and thousands of couples have.

During the Penal Laws, when the celebration Mass was outlawed, lay people developed their own way of praying there and this became known as "doing the rounds". To this day, communities still call there on hearing of an illness or need for prayer in their community. 

On Sunday Oct 1st., Bishop Fintan Gavin will preside at Mass there to mark the 1,400th anniversary of the first Christian to have prayed there – St Finbarr.

The Oratory of St. Finbarr at Gougan Barra.The Oratory of St. Finbarr at Gougan Barra.

Finbarr established an early monastic community here and later went on to found a centre of learning in the march of Cork -- which later grew into the city.

All are invited to the celebrations at Gougane Barra on Sunday 1st October marking the 1,400th anniversary of the death of St Finbarr.

Mass at 3pm is preceded by the Rosary at 2.30 pm. Fr Bernard Cotter, former Parish Priest of Uibh Laoire and Co-PP in Castlehaven Parish will preach the homily.

On the Cork and Ross pilgrimage to Lourdes 2023, the young adult helpers are all ready to depart to Lourdes with Fr Marius, Fr Charlie, Bishop Fintan and Shiela Kelleher.On the Cork and Ross pilgrimage to Lourdes 2023, the young adult helpers are all ready to depart to Lourdes with Fr Marius, Fr Charlie, Bishop Fintan and Shiela Kelleher.

Two plane loads of pilgrims set out from Cork Airport today at the start of the diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes.

The pilgrimage, which takes months of planning, is being led by Bishop Fintan Gavin.

Among the pilgrims are people who need assistance to travel and while in Lourdes. These are accommodated in a special hospital near the shrine at Lourdes and they are supported by a dedicated team of professional medical and nursning staff as well as a team of volunteer assistants — which includes a group of young people. 

Each day's timetable at Lourdes will include liturgies at the grotto, in chapels nearby and outdoors near the shrine. 

Bishop Fintan said the group will be praying for everyone in the diocese at home during these sacred days.

"I'm also especially grateful to the huge number of people who give of their time and their expertise right through the year to make the pilgrimage possible," he said.

Announcing the annual collection in churches to fund the education of student priests for the diocese, Bishop Fintan Gavin invites support for two men who are continuing their studies.

This September two Cork and Ross seminarians, Emmanuel Ezeh and Alan McNamara, have commenced their studies in St. Patrick's College Maynooth. 

Both have already completed a year of initial formation at Valladolid in Spain. 

“I would ask you to keep both of these men in your prayers at Masses and at prayer groups in your parishes," Bishop Fintan says.

Another man has started his second year of studies for the Permanent Diaconate in the Diocese.

The annual appeal in churches is to meet the costs associated with training, accommodation, education and college fees and associated costs. It will be taken up at Masses on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th September.

Seminary courses do not qualify for any state support or grants so the full cost is borne by the diocese. 

Last year the annual collection for the Priesthood Education Fund reached €70,616 which was very generous. However, the full costs of the year amounted to €112,491.

This year’s projected costs will in the region of €110,000. 

“Appreciating that these are difficult financial times, I would ask you to be as generous as you can to the Priesthood Education Fund annual collection this year in order to support the future

mission of the Church in Cork and Ross,” Bishop Fintan said.

“As we plan for the future, I would ask you to continue to pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life and in a particular way during this current Year of Vocations to Diocesan Priesthood.”

People may also support the seminarians by making a secure online donation

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Bishop Fintan Gavin leads the people in prayer during an ordination at the Cathedral of Ss Mary and St Anne, Cork. (Photo: Peter Pietrzak)