Monday began with Mass for the Catholic Association pilgrims, of whom the East Anglian pilgrims are a part (pictured below). The grotto is the place where St Bernadette saw Our Lady and under her direction unearthed the spring from which the renowned Lourdes water is drawn – the spring can be seen and its gurgling heard in the sanctuary.
After the Mass photographs were taken of all of the pilgrims and of our own East Anglian group (pictured above).
Later in the afternoon a penitential liturgy was held in the Rosary Basilica with the opportunity for individuals to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The music group provided reflective music which, with the surroundings, made for an atmosphere that promote reflection. A thoroughly moving service.
On Tuesday the East Anglian pilgrims visited Bartrès and celebrated Mass with Bishop Peter Collins in the church where St Bernadette worshipped. St Bernadette was sent to Bartrès in her infancy to a wet nurse, and again in her early teens to work for the same lady as a shepherdess.
We followed this with a tea party down the road which provided an opportunity for our pilgrims to spend some time together and chat, building community spirit and then returned to our hotels for lunch. That afternoon everyone had an opportunity to explore or stay in the cool environs of the hotel as the heat built up.
In the evening we took part in the torchlight procession and some of our young people carried the statue of Mary during the procession and our own Bishop Peter presented the intentions to Our Lady and closed the procession with prayer and a blessing.
Red our other reports from Lourdes