Our Lady Queen of Martyrs
Roman Catholic Church Hereford
Further Pictures from the Pilgrimage are available to view here.
Photo is of the 24 pilgrims in the Domaine area - shortly after mass in the Grotto.
24th August 2013.
intrepid pilgrims gather with Fr Cenydd at Our Lady’s for the opening mass of
our pilgrimage to Lourdes.
We then set off for the airport at 07.30, arriving in Lourdes in time for a drink before dinner.
morning sees us gathered in the underground basilica for the international mass
after which we have a quick peep at the domaine and then an afternoon of rest
and relaxation, with some of our number travelling to Bareges to see the awful
aftermath of the June floods, whilst a group led by intrepid explorer Rich
braved the funicular railway and spent the afternoon overlooking the
surrounding countryside from the Pic Du Jer.
Monday we join the rest of the English speaking pilgrims for mass at the
grotto, always a wonderful experience, after which we had our group photo
taken, amid much hilarity. We then retired for lunch followed by a tour of the
old town, to visit those places associated with the life of St Bernadette.
After a splendid dinner, we responded to Our Lady’s request to come in
procession by taking part in the torchlight procession, sadly we were caught in
a classic Lourdes storm, and ended up a bit wet. Never mind.
Tuesday we had the opportunity for some private prayers and devotions, before
heading out to Hosanna House for mass, followed by a visit to the village of
Bartres, where St Bernadette was fostered as an infant, and where she returned
in the autumn of 1857 to escape the Cachot, the old prison where the family
were living at the time of the apparitions. We then headed out to the Lac de
Lourdes, for a very pleasant hour or two beside the water, although it has to
be said that the ducks didn’t seem too impressed with Fr C’s preaching. St
Francis can relax!
Wednesday some of the pilgrims joined Fr Cenydd for the high stations, whilst
others headed for the baths, confessions and adoration of the Most Holy
Eucharist, followed by a well deserved coffee in one of the many cafes. Then in the afternoon we headed up the
mountains to Gavarnie, where we celebrated Mass in the twelfth century parish church of St John the Baptist, one of the ancient
churches on the mediaeval pilgrimage route to Compostella, getting caught in
the rain yet again as we left the church. Those with any energy remaining
gathered at the grotto again that evening for another torchlight procession.
morning saw us praying the Mass together at the Poor Clare’s convent, followed
by a visit to the twice weekly market in the town square, where local cheeses
were sampled and purchased, along with some maigret de canard, vacuum packed to
survive the journey back to Tim’s fridge! On Thursday afternoon saw us visiting
the grotto, followed by low Stations of the Cross, then the Blessed Sacrament
Procession and blessing of the sick in the underground basilica.
saw us waving farewell to Bex and Rich, who were returning to the UK a day
ahead of the rest of the group in order to attend a friend’s wedding, whilst
the remainder spent time hunting down the famous tacky souvenirs on Friday
morning. Friday afternoon saw us back in the domain for mass with anointing of
the sick in St Joseph’s
chapel, where we were joined by various English speaking pilgrims. This was, in my mind anyway, a miracle in
itself, as St Joseph’s,
a beautiful chapel, is normally reserved for groups of more than 100 pilgrims,
so our 2 dozen were definitely there at Our Lady’s request! At the end of mass,
we made our way to the crowned virgin statue, in order to thank Our Lady for
our highly successful pilgrimage, and to ask her to bring us back to Lourdes in the
future! Friday evening brought a final
visit to the torchlight procession. We
then zoomed up the huge ramp to allow our less able friends to visit the
magnificent crypt, first of the chapels built as a result of Our Lady’s request
to Bernadette: “Tell the priest to build a chapel, and let the people come in
on Saturday morning we were able to celebrate mass together for the last time
in Lourdes in
the St Frai hospital chapel, followed by a final visit to the grotto, followed
by a late lunch and then departure for the airport, finally arriving home bang
on time at 10pm.