Carmelite Pilgrimage to Lourdes - 23rd August 2010

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