Book chronicles 50 years of Wexford pilgrimages to Lourdes
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.