(SNR) – Msgr. Timothy Thorburn, whose duties include serving as chaplain of the Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in Valparaiso, will lead a pilgrimage Sept. 9-20 to the Marian Shrines of Fatima, Portugal and Lourdes, France and several other holy sites in Spain.
“It will be a great privilege for me to lead pilgrims to the shrines of Our Lady at Fatima and Lourdes, as well as the Carmelite holy places of Avila and Segovia, along with the other sites on our itinerary,” Msgr. Thorburn said. “St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross were great reformers in the 16th century, a time in Europe of great upheaval after the Protestant revolution. These saints are signs of hope for us today.
“Our own Carmelite nuns have inspired me to love Our Lady and these Carmelite saints,” he continued, “and will be praying for us all. I know that this pilgrimage will be a blessing not only for those who are able to travel on the pilgrimage but also to all those for whom they pray, and our entire diocese.”
Lourdes, one of the great Marian Shrines of the world where the Blessed Mother appeared to St. Bernadette in 1858 and identified herself as the Immaculate Conception, “is a place of physical but especially spiritual healing,” Msgr. Thorburn said.
“I went on pilgrimage there the year I celebrated my 25th anniversary of ordination, and remain grateful to this day for the graces I received there. The pilgrims will bring with them, in spirit, all who need healing as we pray in that holy place.” Msgr. Thorburn also mentioned his experience at Fatima.
“In 1988 I had the privilege of visiting Fatima and was deeply moved by the humility of the poor who, filled with faith, trustingly bring their sorrows and joys to our Lady there,” he continued. “Our Lady at Fatima came as Mother of Mercy, yet she also came to warn us that our world, and each of us personally, need conversion. That will be my prayer during the days of our pilgrimage.”
Pilgrims will also visit shrines in Spain associated with the two great Carmelite saints, St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, both Doctors of the Church. The tour will stop in St. Teresa’s hometown of Avila and visit the convent where she spent much of her life before traveling on to Segovia to celebrate Mass at the tomb of St. John.
Additional stops in Spain include Salamanca, Zaragoza, Montserrat, and the pilgrimage will conclude in Barcelona with a visit to the famed Sagrada Familia Basilica.
“A Catholic pilgrimage is an opportunity for a life-changing experience.” Msgr. Thorburn added. “In visiting these holy sites, we hope to come home with the grace of a renewed conversion of heart, reflecting to others the love of God in the Immaculate Heart of Our Lady and those of the saints in whose shrines we have prayed. God grant that we will be better missionary disciples upon our return.”