Dear Summer Lourdes 2020 Participant

Pilgrimage cancelled

I am very sorry to have to let you know that the July Pilgrimage to Lourdes will not be taking place this year. Please read this very carefully, and hopefully it will answer the questions that you will immediately have about this.

Our travel agent, Tangney Tours, has advised that it is not possible to continue with planning for the trip, due to the ongoing travel restrictions, the Government guidance, and the uncertainties about when restrictions will be lifted.

I know that this will be a great disappointment to you, as it is to me, and also I am sure that you will completely understand how important it is to keep yourselves, and the elderly and vulnerable people we serve when in Lourdes, completely safe.

Your prayers, please

There are many people to hold in prayer at this time; we are very mindful that for those of you taking GCSEs and A-levels, it is an uncertain time, as it is for those whose Universities are closing for the rest of the year. Those who are elderly, and worried about isolation; medical staff and care workers; and indeed your own families – everyone is in need of prayer. This time of virus pandemic will pass – we already know that, from what we are seeing in China – but the weeks ahead will test us. For that reason we will do all we can to help you; we’ll be using our social media to share tips and good ideas for isolation, as well as – when it is possible – tips to help vulnerable and elderly neighbours, while keeping everyone safe. As young people, this time of crisis is also a time for you to shine – to put your faith into action whenever you can, with kindness, calm, and hope. We will also, naturally, be offering ways to pray, and ideas about prayer, and we are hopeful that we may be able to live-stream some Masses from the chapel at Walsingham House.  We also need to keep the people of Lourdes in prayer – all those hoteliers, bar owners, ice-cream and crepe stand operators – everyone whose jobs and businesses depend on the pilgrims coming to the town.

A full refund

John Tangney has been very decent in taking the responsibility of cancelling the trip – it means that, with no question or exception, you will receive a full refund of any money you have paid. We will work hard to return your money to you as soon as we can, but it will mean processing over 200 cheques, and we ourselves are grappling with the restrictions around CV-19 in terms of people working from home, which makes this much more complicated than it would normally be. Please be patient with us; it may take us a few weeks to get the right amounts back to every person.

Repayment details

To help us with this, could you let us know who we should make a cheque payable to. We will post cheques to the address on your BCYS account, so if you have moved please let us know.

Grant money

If you received a bursary from us, naturally we will retain it.

If you received money from the Jack Petchey Foundation,  the Catenians, your parish, or any other source of funding, please get in touch with the people who gave you the money and ask them what they would like you to do. Apart from our own bursary funding, we do not note the source of people’s funds, so we will simply be sending a cheque to you for the total amount we have received towards your fare. If you need us to do anything different, please let us know.

A possibility for Year 13s

I do not want to raise false hope, but there is a chance that, in August, we will run a trip for Year 13s with Fr Bob’s group. Because this cannot be planned at the moment, we will continue with full refunds to everyone in Year 13 as well, but as the clouds lift in April and May, we will be in touch with details, if we have managed to arrange something. I have spoken with both Fr Bob and John Tangney about this, and if we can make something good happen, then we will.

Lourdes 2021

Naturally we all hope that everything will be back to normal during this year, and that Lourdes 2021 will be a joyful return to Lourdes. To save any confusion, the bookings for Lourdes 2021 will be an entirely fresh process, and will begin in October 2020, running through to January 2021, i.e. just as this year. We will not, therefore, be carrying places forward to 2021, or anything like that, partly as we anticipate that having the money refunded at this stage will help your family, and partly because it will be much easier for everyone if we start fresh for 2021.

Questions

If you have any questions that are not covered here, please email frdominic@dioceseofbrentwood.org, or call 01277373959 and I will help in any way that I can, assisted by Suzanne and Natalie, who look after all the detail of the pilgrimage. No question is too small – it may well be that a question you ask is relevant for others, and we will send a further email to all participants if a common thread emerges amongst questions.

With many blessings

Fr Dominic

 

Join the Brentwood Catholic Youth Service on our hugely popular Summer Lourdes Pilgrimage!

Each year over 200 young people from parishes all over Essex and East London travel alongside the annual diocesan pilgrimage to assist the elderly and infirm, particularly those in wheelchairs. Lourdes is a place of miracles – not only healing miracles, but moments of personal transformation. Young people who travel to Lourdes often find that new inspirations and life-transforming moments are part of the week – along with tremendous friendships and a lot of fun. Many come back year after year – and almost all our leaders were once young people on pilgrimage. The whole experience is youth led – and full of joy!

The programme includes times of prayer, a half day retreat, daily Mass, and all of the main events in Lourdes as we join tens of thousands of people for the Torchlight Procession and Blessed Sacrament Procession.

There is an excursion to Gavarnie, in the Pyrenees, and social time includes a quiz night in fancy dress as well as a final evening party. The week aims to blend an experience that includes spirituality, social time and service, rooted in a place of pilgrimage for over 160 years, and all as part of the journey of discovering what it means to be a young Catholic. It is open to everyone – if you have questions about faith, or have never seen another young person in your church, this is a week you will never forget!

 

If you are applying for the first time, you might also find it useful to watch some of the “Virtual Pilgrimage” from 2019: https://bcys.net/resource-category/virtual-pilgrimage-2019/

 

Please be aware, this pilgrimage is always heavily oversubscribed. Please see below for information about our application process.

 

 

 

Applications will be open online from Sunday 27th October 2019 until Friday 10th January 2020.

You can apply by creating / logging into an account on this website and then clicking on the “APPLY NOW” button at the top right of this page.

2020 Travel dates

We will be leaving Brentwood in the early afternoon of Saturday 25th July and returning on the morning of Saturday 1st August (times TBC). There will also be coaches leaving from Stratford and Colchester, where they will go on to Brentwood and begin the journey to France from there.

On Saturday 25th, the coaches travel from Brentwood to Dover where they will board a ferry to Calais, and then drive through France to arrive in Lourdes (we hope!) on Sunday morning. For the return journey, the coaches will aim to leave Lourdes by midday on Friday 31st and return to conclude our pilgrimage with a final Mass at Brentwood Cathedral on the morning of Saturday 1st August. Everyone must be collected from Brentwood Cathedral on Saturday 1st August, there will be no coaches returning to Stratford or Colchester!

 Please be aware that this is a long journey, but we will have several scheduled stops – just remember, it is all part of the pilgrimage experience!

 

2020 Prices

The cost for young people (school year 10 – 13) this year will be £600. The cost for leaders will be £540.

This price includes coach travel, ferry crossings, all meals and accomodation, insurance, a BCYS Polo shirt (2 for those attending the pilgrimage for the first time) and all planned activities whilst in Lourdes.

Due to Brexit uncertainty, it is possible that the prices may change however we will make every effort to avoid this.

BCYS bursary funding is available for those in financial hardship, and we can also offer more information on other bursary and grant giving organisations. If you have any concerns about financing this trip then please email gabriellafusi@dioceseofbrentwood.org.

 

APPLICATION PROCESS

To make sure everyone has a fair chance for applications we will have an application “window” between 27th October and 10th January. Forms will be date marked as they are received and then will be allocated as described below. NO PLACES WILL BE CONFIRMED UNTIL 15th JANUARY 2020.
No later than 1 month after you have been offered a place we will require a £100 deposit in order to confirm your attendance.

 

SELECTION PROCESS:

  • The first 125 places will be offered to those from school years 10—12.
  • Up to 40 places will be offered to those in school year 13.
  • Places will be allocated to ensure as many parishes and schools as possible from the diocese are represented.
  • Where we receive a large number from one school or parish, places will be allocated on a “first come, first served” basis.
  • We expect to be hugely oversubscribed again this year so once places are allocated please do confirm your place by completing the booking form and paying the £100 deposit as soon as possible. If this is not completed by the deadline given, your place may be passed on.

 

OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION

LEADERS (Age 18+, having left school)

To serve as a leader in Lourdes it is compulsory to attend the Leaders Training weekend which will take place on Saturday 4th July (all leaders) and Sunday 5th July (First time leaders) at Walsingham House.

 

YEAR 13

Those in year 13 will be asked to attend a training and information afternoon on Sunday 5th July, 2pm – 5pm at Most Holy Redeemer Church in Billericay.

 

YEARS 10 – 12

There will also be an information evening for young people and parents on Sunday 5th July at 6:30pm. This will take place at Most Holy Redeemer Church in Billericay.

Please make a note of these dates.

 

 

If you have any questions or concerns please speak to us as soon as possible, by emailing gabriellafusi@dioceseofbrentwood.org or frdominic@dioceseofbrentwood.org