The Grotto where Our Lady appeared to Saint Bernadette in 1858 is the centre point of the Sanctuaries in Lourdes. It is holy ground, and the celebration of the Eucharist there is one of the highlights of the Catholic Association Pilgrimage.
Two children on the pilgrimage holding the Catholic Association's cross
which serves as a reminder of the pastoral theme of the year in Lourdes,
"With Bernadette, let us make the sign of the cross".
The dioceses and groups that participate in the Catholic Association pilgrimage processed together to the Grotto.
Processing to the Grotto.
Carmelite group pilgrims at the Grotto.
This year's Grotto Mass was particularly special as three priests of the Catholic Association - Monsignor Bill Saunders, Fr. Nicholas King, S.J., and the Province's own Fr. Antony Lester, O.Carm. - were made Lourdes Chaplains of Honour (as shown in the video below).
The three Chaplains of Honour were called forward by Colette Sharrock,
President of the Catholic Association Hospitalité.
The pectoral crosses that are the insignia of a Chaplain of Honour were carried forward by the Pilgrimage Directors of the British Province of Carmelites, Stonyhurst College, and Southwark Archdiocese, and blessed by Rt. Rev. Paul Hendricks,
Auxiliary Bishop of Southwark and Chair of the Catholic Association.
Fr. Antony Lester of the British Province of Carmelites being presented with
the cross insignia of a Chaplain of Honour by Rt. Rev. Paul Hendricks.
New Lourdes Chaplains of Honour (left-right): Bill Saunders, Nick King, Tony Lester.
Fr. Wilfrid carrying out a Rite of Sprinkling with water
as a reminder of baptism and the need to turn constantly to Christ.
Fr. Wilfrid preaching at the Penitential Service.
After individual confession and absolution with one of the priests present
pilgrims were invited to shake hands with Fr. Wilfrid
as a sign of peace and reconciliation.
The HCP Tea Party involved the helpers' children offering food, drink and entertainment to Assisted (Sick) Pilgrims in the Accueil Notre Dame.
Rose Aqui (third from right) with other members of
the Catholic Association Hospitalité.