Our flight was scheduled to leave at 9am and, after a slight delay, we arrived at our homes for the week in Lourdes in time for a late-ish lunch. We started our time in Lourdes with Mass in the Chapel of St Maximilian Kolbe for the ‘early arrivals’ – the pilgrimage proper began on Saturday.
A gentle start to Saturday allowed people to settle in – especially those who flew in from Birmingham following several hours of delay, and the opening Mass of the pilgrimage, presided over by our own Bishop Peter Collins, was held at 4.30pm.
Sunday started with the International Mass presided over by Jozef Cardinal de Kesel in a packed Basilica pf St Pius X. The Cardinal spoke to us in his homily about the difficulties the early Church had in welcoming pagans and how in overcoming this, the Church had grown and is, quoting Isaiah, “a house of prayer for all the peoples”. Pilgrims from our Catholic Association group read at the Mass and offered general intercession and Bishop Peter led for part of the Eucharistic prayer.
A luncheon was held to thank the East Anglian nursing staff who so ably support our assisted pilgrims in the Hospitalité de Notre Dame de Lourdes. Without their support we could not bring our assisted pilgrims without whom the pilgrimage would lose much of its raison d’être.
On the Sunday evening we were due to attend the procession of the Blessed Sacrament, but in a change, due to the excessive heat, this will take place entirely in the underground basilica.
Pictured above is the International Mass at Lourdes. Picture courtesy of Lourdes YouTube.
Read our other reports from Lourdes below