• The Archdiocesan pilgrimage organised by the UMTAL Society has recently returned from their annual visit to the Holy Shrine at Lourdes. 170 pilgrims and volunteers were led on this religious journey by the Chaplain of the Society and Archbishop’s delegate, Fr Joseph Mizzi, parish priest of Santa Lucia. 

    A team of doctors, nurses, carers and lay persons volunteered to look after over 40 patients to ensure a safe and comfortable experience for the sick during the pilgrimage to Lourdes. UMTAL were very pleased to welcome 26 new volunteers who, together with another 20 returning volunteers, made this trip possible for sick pilgrims, their relatives and others who wished to join the Archdiocesan pilgrimage.

    UMTAL society makes it possible for sick persons who need special care to be able to participate, together with other pilgrims, in all the religious functions that take place on a regular basis with the Lourdes Sanctaury. Whilst most of the sick are accomodated in hotels, those in need of particular equipment and medical care are hosted at the specially equipped Acceuil Marie Saint Frai.

    As in previous years, UMTAL representing the Archdiocese of Malta, joined several other pilgrimages from worldwide dioceses to take part in the international mass, the Eucharistic celebration, the Aux Flambeaux procession and visit the Lourdes baths. Some free time was available for pilgrims to rest between events, site-see, shop or make personal visits to the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto. The highlight of the pilgrimage was surely a celebration of mass in Maltese at the grotto. UMTAL also held a penitential service for its Maltese group at the start of the pilgrimage, organised a Way of the Cross procession and on the last day of the pilgrimage, a special mass was held, during which all pilgrims were encouraged to receive the Sacrament of Annointing of the Sick. 

    At the end of this mass, volunteers pledged their committment to their noble service and were presented with a certificate of appreciation from the Archbishop Charles J. Scicluna. University student volunteers had this experience also credited by their respective faculties.

    UMTAL is making preparations for next year’s Archdiocesan pilgrimage planned between the 20th and 24th July 2020. Interested volunteers and pilgrims are invited to contact them via email: [email protected] or message on Facebook UMTAL Għaqda għat-Trasport tal-Morda f’Lourdes.