A Pilgrimage to Lourdes

Over the holiday, Group 204 – led by Mr and Mrs Wright – went on a pilgrimage to Lourdes in France, where Our Lady appeared to Saint Bernadette and caused a spring to appear. HCPT (Hosanna House Children’s Pilgrimage Trust) runs trips every year, with the Easter pilgrimage inviting over 1,000 disabled and disadvantaged children to Lourdes.

Groups from all over the world visit this little town, including from the USA (who were in charge of this year’s trip), the West Indies and Croatia. Every group has their own colour jumper or hat – Group 204’s being jade this year – and also their own wooden clothes peg decorated with their group number, to be used to tag people during one of the group services. Whilst we did spend time in masses, these definitely weren’t as expected: several just contained the 25 people in our group and we did have some unexpected moments, like when someone responded to the question “What came after the Last Supper?” with the answer “Dinner!”

We spent time on the prairie, getting to know each other and playing games and we were able to go up into the mountains to a town called Gavarnie. We had horse rides around the town and had a few snowball fights, which is okay until you get a chunk of snow in the face!

There was also the chance to go into the Baths, which are filled with water from the spring created by Our Lady. It was a cold but definitely worthwhile experience! As we carried candles in procession up to the Grotto (where Mary appeared to Saint Bernadette and caused the spring to appear), we copied the actions of Saint Bernadette, singing a decade of the rosary. It was amazing, like most of Lourdes. The key theme of this year’s pilgrimage was “You are Special”. Group 204 hopes you will remember this message as personal experience has taught me that we are all special.

Easter pilgrimage inviting over 1,000 disabled and disadvantaged children to Lourdes