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.
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.
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.
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.