Bishop takes a (sky) dive to get pilgrims to Lourdes

IMAGE: CNS photo courtesy of the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton


HOVE, England (CNS) — “The Moth has landed,”
tweeted the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton.

The tweet Sept. 14 and a similar post on the diocesan
Facebook page was meant to assure people that 60-year-old Bishop Richard Moth of
Arundel and Brighton had fulfilled his pledge to go skydiving and had completed
the task successfully and unharmed.

Joined by Lucy Barnes, a local Catholic school teacher,
Bishop Moth jumped from a plane at 15,000 feet to raise money to take ailing
pilgrims to Lourdes.

“He flies through the air with the greatest of ease,”
said another tweet, referring to Bishop Moth.

The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales tweeted: “Is
it a bird? Is it a plane? … Wait, it’s a bishop!” They made no reference
to the insect that flies and shares the bishop’s name.

With a goal of 3,000 pounds (just under $4,000), the bishop
raised more than 5,160 pounds on an online crowdfunding website.

In a press release from the diocese, Bishop Moth said: “It requires you to trust in the person you are in tandem with
and in the equipment. The staff, however, are very professional and looked
after us really well.” Both the bishop and Barnes jumped in tandem with —
and harnessed to — an instructor.

Barnes said, “It was very cold at 15,000 feet and the
one minute of freefall made my head spin, but then the gently drifting down
with the parachute open was fantastic as you could see everything around

When asked if they would do it again, Bishop Moth gave a
hesitant “I might,” according to the diocese, but Barnes said,
“I would not go up again and am glad to be back on earth, and feeling so
much better after fish and chips, and gin and tonic!”

While Bishop Moth spent six years as the “bishops of
the forces,” or military ordinary of Great Britain, it was not until he
was far away from the professional paratroopers that he decided to wing it in an
attempt to raise enough money to send two assisted pilgrims to Lourdes.

“Each year, the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton organizes
a pilgrimage to Lourdes for one week in late July,” the diocese said.
“Over 700 pilgrims travel with us, and 120 of those are sick, frail,
elderly or disabled. Some pilgrims and their carers find it hard to fund their
trip, and so from time to time we fund raise to subsidize their fare and
accommodation in Lourdes.”

– – –

Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at

Original Article