Become a Virtual Pilgrimage Host
Current Status Due to COVID-19
At this time, while travel is restricted due to the pandemic, we have postponed most Lourdes Virtual Pilgrimage Experiences in parishes, schools and other locations. We care deeply for both the spiritual and physical health and well-being of our pilgrims and guides. Our medical committee has prayerfully and prudently set safe in-person safety guidelines. Each request for in-person Lourdes Virtual Pilgrimage Experience will be looked at on a case-by-case basis.
If we are unable to physically come to you, our guide team can work with you to bring an online Virtual Pilgrimage to your group or community.
The Vatican has granted an exceptional Plenary Indulgence during the pandemic for those who join us in this new way of making a “Virtual Pilgrimage.” For this extraordinary Plenary Indulgence, the Vatican has made exceptions to the usual conditions.
To learn more about this unique opportunity, please click here.
We are dedicated to continuing our mission through the current pandemic as best we can under these difficult circumstances. Your physical and spiritual health and safety are most important to us.
Arrange a Lourdes Virtual Pilgrimage Experience™
Now available in English and Spanish!
Our Virtual Pilgrimage Team works hard to ensure that arranging a Lourdes Virtual Pilgrimage Experience™ at your parish, school or other institution is an enjoyable experience for you and your organization!
To get started, we recommend that you:
1. Pray! Just one Hail Mary can make all the difference!
2. Give us a call! We will explain the process, answer your questions and follow up with an informational packet to guide you.
3. Ask your priest or principal about bringing Lourdes to your parish or school.
4. Plan in advance! Time is needed for planning a sacred and successful Lourdes Virtual Pilgrimage Experience™. Depending on the availability of our trained guides and your parish/school, we recommend allowing for anywhere between six weeks to three months (or in rare cases, up to one year in advance) to arrange a suitable date and make any necessary preparations.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the process for having a Lourdes Virtual Pilgrimage Experience™ at my parish?
- Contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org or (315) 476-0026.
- Provide your name, location, address, phone and e-mail. Note the best way for us to reach you.
- You will receive our informational packet on Virtual Pilgrimage Experience™, full of information about Lourdes and North American Lourdes Volunteers, which you will want to review with your priest/principal.
Who is usually involved in the planning process?
- Getting permission from your parish pastor or principal is the first step to host a Lourdes Virtual Pilgrimage Experience™ in your parish or school.
- One person must serve as a point of contact or “host,” communicating, planning and facilitating in conjunction with our Lourdes Virtual Pilgrimage team. Some hosts choose to form a committee at their parish/school to share the necessary volunteer tasks, including promoting the event and recruiting volunteers to help.
What is needed for the Lourdes Virtual Pilgrimage Experience™?
If the hosting parish/school could provide the following, North American Lourdes Volunteers would be most grateful:
- Extension cord and multi-outlet cord
- Screen (larger the better) for viewing the images
- 3-4 glass Lourdes Water bowls (small salad bowl size)
- 2-3 baskets for petitions and free will offerings
- 1 table for the Grotto Rocks and Lourdes Water
- 2 small tables for the projector and computer
- Microphone for the presenter/guide (lapel-type is best)
- Candles – optional for the recitation of one decade of the Rosary. Please seek permission from your Pastor for the use of candles.
- Pencils for writing individual petitions
Volunteers from the hosting parish/school are needed:
- 3-4 volunteers to hold the Grotto Rocks for procession
- 3-4 volunteers to hold the Lourdes Water bowls for procession
- 2 volunteers to distribute and collect the petitions
- 2 volunteers to distribute the Virtual Pilgrimage Programs and Plenary Indulgence
- 2 volunteers to distribute the Lourdes Water bottles and green prayer sheets at the end
- 2 ushers to direct flow for processions and for lights
- Music: organist and/or vocalist to play/sing Marian and Benediction hymns
How much does a Lourdes Virtual Pilgrimage Experience™ cost?
Lourdes Volunteers never charges a fee for sharing the Message of Lourdes. However, we do request a free-will offering in parishes to help defray our travel, print and shipping costs. Generous parish offerings also:
- Support Lourdes Virtual Pilgrimage Experiences™ in school and prisons, where donations are not accepted
- Help to cover the cost of shipping Lourdes Water from the Grotto Spring to our home office in Syracuse, NY, where it is bottled by volunteers and shipped to your location to be shared at your Lourdes Virtual Pilgrimage Experience™
How much time is needed to arrange for a Lourdes Virtual Pilgrimage Experience™?
So much depends on parish location, time of year and our availability. Usually, we recommend allowing for anywhere between six weeks to three months (or in rare cases, up to one year in advance) to arrange a well-planned Lourdes Virtual Pilgrimage Experience™. On rare occasions, we have been able to accommodate a spontaneous request in a location where we are present.
For correctional institutions, we are usually hosted by the local prison ministry or Deacon. Please note that advance time is required for our Virtual Pilgrimage Guide to undergo identification and approval measures according to the institution’s visitor practices.
When do you offer Lourdes Virtual Pilgrimage Experience™ during the year?
Lourdes Virtual Pilgrimage Experiences™ usually take place from January to May and September to early December, dependent upon the Liturgical Calendar. Occasionally, we can offer Virtual Pilgrimages around August 15.
Is the Bishop of my Diocese informed about Lourdes Volunteers coming to my parish?
Lourdes Volunteers offers Lourdes Virtual Pilgrimage Experiences™ only with the permission of the local Bishop. A letter of request and endorsement from the Bishop of the Syracuse Diocese is sent to each Diocese where Lourdes Virtual Pilgrimage Experiences™ have been requested.
Besides parishes and schools, where do we bring the Message of Lourdes?
- Nursing homes
- Potential volunteer groups
- and more!
Do you share Lourdes Virtual Pilgrimage Experience™ in schools? Is it geared to specific grade levels?
We often share the Message of Lourdes with grade schools, high schools and universities. The experience is geared to each specific grade level. It is common for us to present at a Catholic school during the school day and to the associated parish that evening.