Book chron­i­cles 50 years of Wex­ford pil­grim­ages to Lour­des

Wexford People - - NEWS - By ES­THER HAY­DEN

A new book mark­ing the 50 pil­grim­ages from the Dio­cese of Ferns to the Shrine of Our Blessed Lady and St. Ber­nadette at Lour­des is to be pub­lished on Thurs­day, June 14.

En­ti­tled ‘Ferns-Lour­des: A Cel­e­bra­tion of 50 Pil­grim­ages’ the book is not a de­fin­i­tive his­tory of the 50 pil­grim­ages but rather a nos­tal­gic trip down me­mory lane for par­tic­i­pants who take part in the an­nual event which dates back to 1954 when the first pil­grim­age from the Dio­cese trav­elled to Lour­des.

In the early years the pil­grim­age was or­gan­ised bi-an­nu­ally and it was only in more re­cent times that it was de­cided to make the trip on a yearly ba­sis. This year’s pil­grim­age in May marked the 50th time in which Ferns Dio­cese was rep­re­sented in Lour­des.

The book will be launched by Bishop Denis Bren­nan in The Fer­rycar­rig Ho­tel at 8.30 p.m. on Thurs­day night, to mark the 50th pil­grim­age to Lour­des from the dio­cese.

Pro­duced by a com­mit­tee un­der the Chair­man­ship of Rev. Fr. Brian Broad­ers P.P. Rath­nure, and edited by ra­dio jour­nal­ist Jimmy Ga­han, the book takes a whim­si­cal look at happenings which took place dur­ing past pil­grim­ages while, at the same time, record­ing for pos­ter­ity the in­flu­ence the pil­grim­age has had on the spir­i­tual life of the many thou­sands of Wex­ford peo­ple who have made the jour­ney over the years.

It also con­tains a com­pre­hen­sive se­lec­tion of old and new pho­to­graphs, some dat­ing back to the first pil­grim­age, oth­ers show­ing re­li­gious and so­cial as­pects of this now great yearly event in the life of Ferns Dio­cese.

An edi­to­rial board con­sist­ing of Rev. Fr. Odhran Fur­long, Ad­min­is­tra­tor, St. Aidan’s Parish, En­nis­cor­thy, Rev. Fr. Matt Bog­gan, CC Gorey, the present Spir­i­tual Di­rec­tor of the pil­grim­age, Ea­mon Do­ran, Askamore, of­fi­cial pho­tog­ra­pher to the pil­grim­age since 2000, and Jimmy Ga­han, ed­i­tor, all work­ing un­der the di­rec­tion of Rev. Fr. Brian Broad­ers, have been in­volved in bring­ing the project to fruition since Jan­uary.

Their col­lec­tive ef­forts is seen as a first at­tempt to chron­i­cle, in words and pic­tures, the story of the pil­grim­age since its in­cep­tion.

Many of the ar­ti­cles con­tained in the book are made up of con­tri­bu­tions sub­mit­ted by pil­grims them­selves and told in their own words. Their ob­vi­ous love of Lour­des is con­tained in their writ­ings which, for the most part, con­vey the true mean­ing of what the pil­grim­age is all about. The var­i­ous au­thors of ar­ti­cles have a story to tell and in bring­ing their words to a wider au­di­ence it is hoped to at­tract even more pil­grims to this won­der­ful place of wor­ship.

‘Ferns – Lour­des: A Cel­e­bra­tion of 50 Pil­grim­ages’ has a lim­ited print run of 1,000 copies and is printed on 135 gram art pa­per. It con­sists of 100 pages and has an in­tro­duc­tion from both Pres­i­dent Michael D. Hig­gins and Bishop Denis Bren­nan. With many of the pho­to­graphs, most in su­perb colour, never hav­ing been pub­lished be­fore, the book, re­tail­ing at €10 is a must for the many thou­sands of Wex­ford pil­grims who have made the jour­ney to Lour­des in years past.

It will also serve as a re­minder of the debt of grat­i­tude owed by so many to so few who make the pil­grim­age a re­al­ity each year and with­out whose un­stint­ing ef­forts the pil­grim­age could not con­tinue to be such a vi­brant part of our dioce­san life.

The launch is open to all mem­bers of the pub­lic and a large at­ten­dance is ex­pected.

Fr Brian Broad­ers.

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