Special award for Lourdes volunteer, Paschal Blake

A LETTERKENNY man who has served the pilgrims of Lourdes for more than 30 years has been awarded the Medal of the Hospitality of Notre Dame de Lourdes.

Paschal Blake, a former nurse, travels to the shrine every year and uses his nursing skills to care for pilgrims that are in need of his services.

Speaking to the Donegal News this week Paschal explained that he was among a number of international volunteers to receive the awards this year.


Paschal Blake and his son Gabriel pictured with Archdeacon  Willie McMenamin in Lourdes. During a special Mass celebrated by Archdeacon McMenamin, Paschal was presented with a medal honouring his long-running volunteering in Lourdes.

“It was a great honour.

“I, along with a nurse from Milan, two consultants from mainland Europe and an Administrator from Paris were presented with our medals.

“We received our medals at a Mass in Lourdes concelebrated by Archdeacon Willie McMenamin, the Parish Priest of Lourdes and a visiting priest from the USA.

“I first went to Lourdes back in 1974 along with then Fr McMenamin. I spent 20 years traveling with the Raphoe Diocese pilgrims, then five years volunteering. It was my late wife Pasqueline who got me involved.,” he said.

Paschal said he hopes to continue making the trip to France to help and assist the sick which is where he has always derived his greatest satisfaction.

“Normally I would go to Lourdes in September but as my group were being awarded the medals in May, I went early,” he said.


Paschal travelled to Lourdes this year with the Raphoe Diocesan Pilgrimage which saw 217 people from the county make the trip.

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