Relics of St Bernadette coming to the Diocese

When the Diocese of Lancaster was drawn up in 1924 by Pope Pius XI, the patron saints chosen for the new diocese were St Cuthbert(c634-687) and Our Lady of Lourdes. Since 1858, when the apparitions at Lourdes began, Lourdes has become 昀rmly establish as a place of love, devotion and healing amongst people of faith. The humble young woman to whom the Mother of God appeared in these apparitions was Bernadette Soubirous (1844-1879) who was the eldest of nine children born to her parents.

Bernadette was only 14 when the apparitions began. They were to be decisive in her life, and the life of the Church. Several years later, when she was professed as a Sister of Charity, Bernadette looked back on the experience of the apparitions, and described her part in them in this way: “The Virgin used me as a broom to remove the dust. When the work is done, the broom is put behind the door again.” What humility! Remarkably, even after her early death, the body of this great woman has survived the decay of the grave. Her incorrupt body is on display at the chapel of her convent in Nevers still. Her holiness of life was recognised by Pope Pius XI when she was canonised in 1933.

The Church in England Wales and Scotland now has opportunities to be close to some Relics of St Bernadette, and through them, to experience the powerful intercession of this humble woman. A number of relics, taken from her incorrupt body in the 1920s, have travelled to meet people in many parts of the world.

The Diocese of Lancaster will be blessed by their presence at two di昀erent locations between 22 September and 24 September.
They will be housed at St Peter’s Cathedral Lancaster from 8.30am on Thursday 22 September until their departure at around 6am on the 23 September. During that twenty-four hour period we are planning to have several di昀erent times of prayer and quietness, with the Cathedral opened during the night, mostly for silent prayer until the relics leave us. The other location for veneration within our Diocese is the Church of Our Lady and St Joseph in Warwick Square Carlisle, where the relics remain until their departure early on Saturday 24 September . Bishop Paul Swarbrick will be present at prayers and worship in both Lancaster and Carlisle.

St Peter’s Cathedral Lancaster Timetable for the visit of St Bernadette’s relics – Thursday 22 to Friday 23 September 2022

8:30am      Liturgy of Welcome with Bishop Paul Swarbrick. Sung office of Morning Prayer.

9:30am      Rosary. (昀rst decade lead by children from Cathedral Primary school

with other school parties invited to be present.) The Joyful Mysteries

10:00am    Time for individual school visits. Children to Noon invited to bring 昀owers

to place before relics plus a photo of someone sick who they wish to pray for.

12:15pm     Mass – Presider and preacher: Bishop Paul Swarbrick.

Priests invited to concelebrate. Will be coordinated by Cathedral office.

1:30pm       Individual School visits. Similar to above.

5:00pm       Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Rosary.

6:00pm to

6:30pm       Sung Vespers.

7pm to

8:30pm        Mass with the anointing of the sick, and Blessed Sacrament procession, with blessing of the City

Canon Cristofoli ICKSP to preach. Concelebrating priests welcome.

A procession with the Blessed Sacrament around the Cathedral with the blessing of the city, concluding the Mass

9pm to

9:15pm        Sung Compline.

9:30pm to   Devotions to Our Lady led by the Polish  community in Polish.


10pm           Silent Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Cathedral open during the night.

Office of Readings recited at 3am  .

5:30am        Sung Morning Prayer as service of Farewell.

During the visit a rota of priests available to hear confessions in the Cathedral.


Church Our Lady & St Joseph Carlisle Timetable for the visit of St Bernadette’s relics – Friday 23 to Saturday 24 September 2022


8:00am       Welcome of Relics followed by Mass.

9:00am       Public Recitation of the Rosary

12 Noon    Solemn Mass with Bishop Paul Swarbrick, with Eucharistic Procession &  Blessing of the Sick.

2.00pm      Public Recitation of the Rosary

5:30pm     Public Recitation of the Rosary

6:00pm     Mass (in Polish)

7pm to      Night Vigil led by Diocesan Youth Service Team


7:30am     Mass of Thanksgiving.

8:00am      Relics depart



N.B:         The Church of Our Lady & St Joseph is open 24 hours for personal visits between 8:00am

on Friday 23rd and 8:00am on Saturday 24th September.

School visits will take place through the course of Friday.

Priests will be available for Confession.