Among the tens of thousands of Irish who have visited the shrine are President John F Kennedy, Grace Kelly, Brendan Behan and Seamus Heaney.
The witnesses “were ordinary people who lived in a very ordinary little village” and included “men, women and children ranging in age from four-year-old John Curry (who spoke no Irish) to Bridget Trench in her seventies (who spoke no English).”
Team of four is aiming to raise €30,000 for Pieta House, which works with those suffering from depression or anxiety, and Down Syndrome Ireland, which is fundraising for a new regional centre in the west of Ireland.
Priest thanked Emma for the hope she expressed: “that people are good and have a capacity to learn from mistakes and that what happened to you should not happen to any other woman in our land.”
The Church in Ireland must work towards becoming “more authentically the Church of Jesus Christ in a culture that is different”.
We invoke the healing power of Jesus on the sick among us, remembering in our prayers all those who suffer sickness or anguish or addiction or pain or isolation and loneliness.
Archbishop Neary pays tribute to young people’s “very significant contribution” to the local church, from teaching computers to the elderly to caring for people with special needs on pilgrimage to Lourdes.
19 new seminarians have begun their formation for Irish dioceses, eight of whom have begun a propaedeutic year in locations in Ireland and abroad.
"So many anonymous men and women religious brought dedication and innovation in health care and society owes them a debt of gratitude.”
“In Lourdes, the sick and weak have pride of place and become central in our interaction,” says leader of Dublin diocesan pilgrimage, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.
“I had a bad leg, a very difficult early childhood ... So when I go [to Lourdes] I think, aren’t I a lucky boy that I can walk and come here and help people more incapacitated than I was, and I thank God for that.”
We can all participate in the work of salvation by accepting a share of the yoke of suffering on our shoulders, and by uniting our sacrifices and sufferings with those of Christ.
“We need help – money is the biggest obstacle to giving Dylan a chance of life. I don’t want to have to say goodbye to my little boy.”
The large influx of pilgrims, the humble and simple prayer of God’s people, the fulfilment of so many graces and the natural beauty of these places allow you to see how the shrines express an irreplaceable opportunity for evangelisation.
“In previous generations, there was a tendency to assume that everyone believed the same thing... it was sometimes more about conformism than about a personal relationship with God."
In contrast to the “holiness, solitude and peacefulness” of the French Marian shrine, daily lives are typically drenched with stories and images from social media, newspapers, magazines, television and films.
“I hope we can rediscover something of our great Celtic tradition of walking, with eyes and ears open for the God who is never far from us, greeting strangers, being welcomed by parish communities.”
Bishop Denis Brennan of Ferns issues pastoral letter for Year of Mercy which will be distributed in parishes across the diocese this coming weekend.
"I heard figures recently suggesting that the average 16 year old in Great Britain is more likely to have a iPhone at home than their dad" - Bishop Donal McKeown.
"We remember in our prayers those who have had to flee from their homelands that they may find peace through the welcome of believers in Jesus Christ."