Saturday, 2 February 2008

The Cleator Lourdes Grotto

Nine days from now we celebrate 150 years since the first apparition of Our Lady at Lourdes. It is an important anniversary for our diocese, as Our Lady of Lourdes is the principal patron of Lancaster. Over these nine days there will be Marian devotions each evening in the Cathedral at 6pm, with solemn Mass and sung Vespers on the anniversary, 11th February. Today a coach-load of parishioners headed north to Cleator, where there is a Lourdes Grotto at the church of St Mary.

We were welcomed by the parish priest, Fr Manny Gribben, and by Fr Jim Burns, known to many in the Cathedral parish as he served here a few years ago. They spoke to us about the work of the shrine and the recent re-ordering of the church. Two seminarians resident at Cleator spoke to us about the work of the diocesan house of formation, set up there a few years ago to help those considering or training for the priesthood.

The day included Mass, Benediction and a procession to the Grotto, where we each lit a candle, entrusting our intentions to the prayers of Our Lady. A great day was had by all - and we were lucky with the weather! Many thanks to everyone at Cleator for their generous hospitality.