Lourdes 2009

 Monday 27th July
The procession to the Opening Mass was held in the St Pius X Basilica. Archbishop Vincent Nichols was the chief celebrant for this and most of the masses during the week. This liturgy was shared with the dioceses of Arundel and Brighton and Shrewsbury and the Order of Malta Volunteers.

After lunch, Father Richard came and took the group on a tour of the Boly Mill where Bernadette was born on 7th January 1844. Later, we visited the Parish Church where she was baptised and lit candles. We then went to see The Cachot where her family lived here Bernadette lived at the time of the apparitions, and the Boly Mill, where she was born.

Westminster led the Torchlight Procession  carrying the statue of the Blessed Virgin up to St Michael's Gate and back to the basilica whilst everybody prayed the Rosary.   The Hail Mary was spoken in some very unfamiliar languages- Asian and African languages. It sounded wonderful.


Tuesday 28th July
Each day a small group of Reds would serve breakfast and lunch at the St Frai hospital under the supervision of the Team Leaders. The Reds would also be serving water to those attending the daily celebrations.

After helping distribute water at the Podium Mass, The Westminster Diocese had their photograph taken outside The Basilica. The Reds had a picnic lunch up on the roof of the St Frai and later in the afternoon attended the St Frai Pilgrims’ Tea Party in the garden of the Gallia Londres Hotel, where they met the malades.

In the evening, Westminster led the Torchlight Procession.   The statue of the Blessed Virgin was carried up to St Michael's Gate and back to the basilica whilst everybody prayed the Rosary.   The Hail Mary was beautifully spoken in various languages including Asian and African languages.

Wednesday 29th July
The international Mass is celebrated in the Pius X basilica.  This is a popular Mass and many of our pilgrims were up and out early to make sure of having a seat in the huge underground space. Just before lunchtime, a group including the Reds met at the Hotel Notre Dame de France to take a coach up to St. Savin in the mountains for a picnic lunch. Father Richard led a reflection on the importance of saying ‘sorry’. He encouraged everyone to say ‘sorry’ to anyone that they may have offended. 

 Thursday 30th July
Mass with the theme of the family at the Cite St Pierre( Cathedral of Trees). Archbishop Vincent launched the 'Westmister Diocese Hospitality of Our Lady of Lourdes'.

In the afternoon, the Reds had a brainstorming session in the hotel to compare our lives today with Bernadette’s and record the differences on a banner. The children were asked to compose a prayer to Bernadette for their own intentions. These prayers would also be placed on the banner. Later, Father Richard took the group down to the Rosaire Church to see the new mosaics of the Mysteries of Light introduced by Pope John Paul the second. He gave each child a rosary and a prayer book to accompany it, before leading the group in saying a decade.

Friday 31st July
Archbishop Nichols celebrated the closing Mass of the pilgrimage in the St Bernadette Cote Carmel. The homily was given by Bishop Bernard Longley.  The Reds carried their banner, before processing with it, to the Grotto.  At the Grotto the pilgrimage candle was blessed and lighted.  The Reds lit their own special candle which had all the children’s names written on it. 

In the evening, it was time for the St Frai hospital party.   Several people from among the malades and helpers performed their hilarious party pieces and everybody had a great time.

Party time at Lourdes