On October 9, a group of 13 Norfolk pilgrims left for France to visit the site of Our Lady’s 18 appearances to Saint Bernadette in a grotto at Lourdes in 1858. The group, led by parish priest Father Erico Falcao, comprised 11 parishioners from St Dominic’s Church and two guests from Hunstanton; retired priest Father Michael Johnstone and Sister Thomas More. Thanks to much preparatory organising by parishioner Frances Stevens, working with Tangney Tours, a programme for the week was arranged, which included daily mass, the afternoon Blessed Sacrament Procession for the sick, and the evening Torchlight Procession. Mass was said, in various languages, almost continuously at the Grotto site, referred to as The Domaine. Fathers Erico and Michael concelebrated mass on several occasions, with Father Erico also assisting in the Blessed Sacrament procession. Father Michael and Sister Thomas More also took part in the afternoon procession, assisted by members of the Parish group.
The programme allowed plenty of time to visit the many chapels, three basilicas, and outdoor Stations of the Cross. It was in the underground Chapel of Saint Joseph that we discovered a statue of a patron saint local to Norfolk, Our Lady of Walsingham. The week proved fascinating and spiritually uplifting for us all.