Carmelite Pilgrimage to Lourdes 2010

Between 20th and 27th August 2010 the British Province of Carmelites made its annual pilgrimage to Lourdes with the Catholic Association. On this page you will find daily reports - photos, write-ups and videos - from the pilgrimage group. During the pilgrimage we offered daily prayers at the Grotto for our friends and benefactors. Live television footage from the Grotto and other parts of the Domaine can be viewed online by clicking here.

Photographs of the pilgrimage are courtesy of: Johan Bergström-Allen; Durand; Lacaze; Viron.

Lourdes Blogs

Friday 20th August

An essential aspect of pilgrimage is the idea of making a journey. The difficulties and joys of travel are part and parcel of the Lourdes experience. Yesterday (Thursday 19th) a small advance party made its way to Lourdes to help set up ahead of the main pilgrimage which arrives this afternoon.


Two helpers from the Carmelite group - Angela Bergström-Allen (left) and Shell Roca - on the train journey from London to Lourdes.

Now we must go and set up the Accueil (house of welcome for the sick and disabled) and await the arrival of our fellow pilgrims...

Click here to read about Saturday 21st August.

Saturday 21st August

Today the Carmelite group gathered for a coffee social in the Hotel Solitude where pilgrims were welcomed by the Prior Provincial, Fr. Wilfrid McGreal, and the Carmelite Pilgrimage Director, Johan Bergström-Allen.

The Catholic Association pilgrimage officially began with the Gathering Mass in the St. Bernadette Church (appropriately in the "Carmel" side of the church). During this celebration of the Eucharist the hands of all volunteer helpers were blessed with oil.

Below is a video of the homily at the Mass preached by Bishop Peter Doyle of Northampton (one of the five dioceses which take part in the Catholic Association pilgrimage).

At the end of Mass new members were admitted to the Catholic Association Hospitalité (the helper's organisation that provides technical preparation, spiritual support and a social network), including a number from the Carmelite group. A particular note of congratulations to Carmelite "handmaid" (female helper) Mary Okeke from the parish of English Martyrs, Walworth, who made her commitment as a full member of the Hospitalité having served with the C.A. for five years.

On Saturday evening the Catholic Association took part in the Torchlight Marian Procession. We were joined by two French Dioceses, the pilgrimage of gypsies and travelling people (who serenaded us with beautiful music), and fellow pilgrims from around the world; a truly beautiful sight.

Click here to read about Friday 20th August
Click here to read about Sunday 21st August

Sunday 22nd August

This morning the Carmelite and other Catholic Association pilgrims joined with other groups and individuals in the underground basilica of St. Pius X for the International Mass. The sight of thousands of pilgrims from all corners of the globe was a heart-warming reminder of the universality of the Church.

Braving temperatures of over 30 degrees, in the afternoon the Catholic Association gathered in the shade of the trees facing the Grotto to take part in the daily Blessed Sacrament Procession.


Carmelite pilgrims at the Blessed Sacrament Procession: Maggie Clark carried the Province banner, accompanied by Sìne Cameron-Mowat and Matthew Sanderson.


Carmelite pilgrims at the Blessed Sacrament Procession:
Helen Carroll (left) and Ellen Davis (right), being pushed by Jean Saunders.

Monday 23rd August 2010
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. Tony Lester, O.Carm., with the President of the Catholic Association Hospitalité, Colette Sharrock.

In the afternoon the Catholic Association celebrated a Penitential Service that was led by the Prior Provincial of the British Province of Carmelites, Fr. Wilfrid McGreal, O.Carm.

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
.


After the Penitential Service a number of pilgrims enjoyed attending the Tea Party organised by the HCP (Helpers' Children's Programme) which provides crèche facilities for the children of volunteers.

The HCP Tea Party involved the helpers' children offering food, drink and entertainment to Assisted (Sick) Pilgrims in the Accueil Notre Dame.


On Monday evening the Catholic Association Hospitalité - the organisation that provides helpers with practical training, spiritual support and a social network - met for its prayer service in the St. Bernadette Church. As well as admitting active volunteers, the C.A. Hospitalité values its 'prayer members', that is, Assisted (Sick) Pilgrims who support the work of the pilgimage volunteers by their prayers. Two prayer members were admitted to the Hospitalité by its patron, Bishop Crispian Hollis of Portsmouth, including Mrs. Rose Aqui, a member of the Carmelite group who comes from the parish of English Martyrs in Walworth, South London.

Rose Aqui (third from right) with other members of
the Catholic Association Hospitalité
.


Click here to read about sunday 22nd august
Click here to read about Tuesday 24th August
Tuesday 24th August

Tuesday morning during the Catholic Association Pilgrimage is usually devoted to diocesan and other groups. The British Province of Carmelites held its group Mass, which was an opportunity to pray in a special way for Carmelite individuals and communities in Britain and beyond.

The Mass incorporated the reception of Maggie Clark into the Carmelite Third Order (Lay Carmel). Maggie has been coming to Lourdes as an Assisted (Sick) Pilgrim for more than 15 years, and after a year of discernment was admitted to the Third Order by fellow Lay Carmelite Johan Bergström-Allen, the Carmelite Pilgrimage Director, on behalf of the Margate Lay Carmelite Community.


Maggie presented with a copy of the Rule of Saint Albert and the Constitutions of the Carmelite Third Order for her study and reflection in the months ahead.

During the Mass thanksgiving to God was also given for the reception into the Carmelite Third Order earlier in the year of two Catholic Association volunteer pilgrims, Miriam Purcell (York) and Dot Wade (Carmel in the City, London). Prayers were also offered for Brother Andy Joyce, a regular helper on the C.A. Pilgrimage, who was not in Lourdes this year as he was preparing to make first profession of vows as a friar in September.



Celebrating a new admission to the Carmelite Family: Maggie's reception into Carmel was celebrated by fellow Tertiaries including Miriam Purcell, Sìne Cameron-Mowat,
Monica Spalding and Charmaine Jayasuriya.

On Tuesday afternoon pilgrims had the opportunity to make an excursion outside of Lourdes, with many opting to visit the mountainous beauty spot of Gavarnie (despite the weather having changed from blazing sunshine to torrential rain!).

Click here to read about Monday 23rd August
Click here to read about Wednesday 25th August

<div style="text-align: justify;"><span style="font-weight: bold;">Wednesday 25th August</span><br />
   The day began with prayers at the Baths, as many of our Assisted Pilgrims were bathed in the water that flows from the Grotto. This water is a reminder of baptism, and since the apparitions in 1858 has been associated with the healing of heart, mind and body.<br />
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   After lunch the Catholic Association pilgrimage celebrated Mass organised by children. The liturgy in the underground basilica was coordinated by The Glanfield Group, which brings sick, disabled and disadvantaged children and young adults to Lourdes.<br />
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     <span style="font-style: italic; font-size: 10pt;">The Mass organised by children.</span><br />
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<span style="font-style: italic; font-size: 10pt;">Children and group leaders, their faces painted, leading the pilgrimage in prayer.<br />
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     <span style="font-style: italic; font-size: 10pt;">Carmelite group member and nurse, Sr. Maureen McNally, F.C.,<br />
       praying at the Mass organised by children.</span>
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At the end of Mass a cheque was presented to the Glanfield Group by representatives of the Catholic Students' Society at the University of York.<br />
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     <span style="font-style: italic; font-size: 10pt;">Roy Scivyer and Matthew Sanderson presenting a cheque to the Glanfield Group.</span><br />
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       <span style="font-style: italic; font-size: 10pt;">Roy (centre) and Matthew (right) handing the cheque to Glanfield Group member Andrew Lyons.</span><br />
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   Immediately after the Mass organised by children, a photograph of the whole pilgrimage was taken (postponed from earlier in the week due to poor weather).<br />
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     <span style="font-style: italic; font-size: 10pt;">The pilgrimage photograph.</span><br />
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       <span style="font-style: italic; font-size: 10pt;">Carmelite pilgrims lining up for the pilgrimage photograph.</span><br />
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Pilgrims then had the option of following the Stations of the Cross, on either the Prairie meadow or - for those able to climb - on the hill adjoining the Sanctuary.<br />
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     <span style="font-style: italic; font-size: 10pt;">Fr. Nicholas King, S.J. (right) leading the Stations of the Cross.</span><br />
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   The Stations of the Cross on the Prairie were led by Fathers Simon Blakesley (Chaplain to the Sick) and Nicholas King, S.J. (a New Testament scholar with many years' experience of working in Lourdes as a brancardier helper); part of the Stations were filmed and the video can be viewed below.<br />
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   In the evening the Carmelite group social took place at the Grand Hotel Gallia &amp; Londres. This was an opportunity for the Prior Provincial and Pilgrimage Director to thank the Catholic Association trustees, heads of service and other officials for their work in Lourdes and throughout the year in organising the pilgrimage.<br />
   <a href="http://www.carmelite.org/index.php?nuc=content&id=146"><br />
     Click here to read about Tuesday 24th August</a>
<br />
   <a href="http://www.carmelite.org/index.php?nuc=content&id=148">Click here to read about Thursday 26th August</a><br />
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Thursday 26th August
At 10 o'clock the pilgrimage celebrated Mass with the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick in the Grotto side of the St. Bernadette Church.

After lunch Assisted (sick) Pilgrims gathered at the statue of the Crowned Virgin to process to the Grotto as a group. Together the pilgrims from the Catholic Association passed through the Grotto in silence, touching the rock, confiding their prayers to God in the hands of Our Lady. Many went from there to light candles as a continuation of their prayer, and to fill bottles with Grotto water.

Pilgrims making their passage through the Grotto.

Assisted pilgrims then gathered around the large cross at the end of the Esplanade known as the Breton Calvary. It was surrounded by dozens of wooden crosses, left there by pilgrimages which had been reflecting on the pastoral theme of the year, "With Bernadette, let us make the sign of the cross". The cross which had been made and decorated by the Catholic Association was blessed with water from the Grotto and placed alongside the others by the children of the Helpers' Children's Programme (HCP).


The cross being blessed by Fr. John Warrington of East Anglia Diocese.

The Helpers' Children group with the pilgrimage cross.

Carmelite pilgrims then convened for their group photo.

Some members of the Carmelite group.

At 3pm pilgrims gathered under the trees adjoining the Esplanade for a Thanksgiving Service led by Bishop Peter Doyle of Northampton. This was an opportunity for pilgrims to thank God for the graces received and friendships made during the week.


Bishop Peter Doyle preaching at the Thanksgiving Service.


Carmelite pilgrims Rose Aqui and Brother Tony O'Donnell
at the Thanksgiving Service.

On Thursday evening the Assisted Pilgrims in the Accueil Notre Dame and their helpers celebrated a final party on the roof terrace.

Click here to read about Wednesday 25th August
Click here to read about Friday 27th August

Friday 27th August

After a final celebration of the Eucharist and thanksgiving prayers, the Catholic Association pilgrimage drew to a close. Most pilgrims returned to Britain in the afternoon.

Looking ahead to next year, Matt Betts, a member of the Carmelite group who will take on the role of Chief Brancardier (coordinator of male helpers), gave us a video interview (below).

Helen Carroll, a former helper on the pilgrimage and now an Assisted Pilgrim, also shared some of her experience of Lourdes.

Click here to read about Thursday 26th August