Lourdes Pilgrimage 2011 - Friday 26th August

The final morning of the Catholic Association pilgrimage is always tinged with sadness at having to leave Our Lady's shrine, and the rain which fell made it seem as though Lourdes itself was weeping to see us leave!

Those pilgrims not already in transit gathered in the St. Bernadette Church for the Sending-Forth Mass, presided at by Crispian Hollis, his last liturgy in Lourdes before retiring as Bishop of Portsmouth.

Bishop Crispian leading pilgrims in prayer at the end of the pilgrimage.

Assisted Pilgrims at the Sending-Forth Mass, seated in the distinctive
"voitures" used to transport some sick and disabled people in Lourdes.

During his homily Bishop Crispian encouraged pilgrims
to allow God's will to be done in their lives, whatever that may entail.

After Mass began the logistical challenge of getting more than 800 pilgrims home to different parts of Britain by aeroplane, train, coach and car.

Carmelite group member and nurse Andy Joyce at Lourdes Airport.

Carmelite friars from York undertook the care of a seriously ill pilgrim
on the flight back to Manchester.

Thankfully the journey home was a smooth one for the great majority of pilgrims. They will have many happy memories to reflect back on in the days and weeks ahead.

Already planning has begun for the 2012 Carmelite pilgrimage to Lourdes with the Catholic Association, which will take place between 24th and 31st August. Details will become available in January 2012, and we hope that as many people as possible will join us on our pilgrimage to this remarkable place.

Click here to read about the previous day

Photographs courtesy of: Johan Bergström-Allen. A wide selection of Johan's photos from the pilgrimage can be viewed on the Province's Flickr webpages.