Lourdes Pilgrimage 2011 - Monday 22nd August

Brenda Wright, a member of the Carmelite Third Order, deep in prayer at the Grotto.

An early rise was necessary on Monday in order to attend Mass at the Grotto at 8.30am. The Grotto where Our Lady appeared to Saint Bernadette in 1858 is very much the heart of Lourdes, and celebrating the Eucharist there reminds us of Our Lady's call for us to live fully the Gospel.

The Catholic Association pilgrims gathered at the Crowned Virgin statue and processed together to the Grotto.

Processing to the Grotto.

Assisted Pilgrims being 'rolled' to the Grotto by hundreds of volunteer helpers.

Having gathered at the Grotto pilgrims were called to prayer by the talented music group, made up of volunteers on the Catholic Association pilgrimage.

The C.A. music group.

Carmelite friars Fr. Wilfrid McGreal and Fr. Francis Kemsley (front)
processing with other clergy to the Grotto.

Fr. Francis Kemsley, O.Carm. (right) arriving at the Grotto for the Eucharist.

In solidarity with the people of East Anglia, one of the groups that makes up the Catholic Association pilgrimage, the Diocese - whose Bishop Michael Evans died recently - was invited to lead the Mass. The celebrant, Monsignor Anthony Rogers, preached powerfully about the need for us to find time for prayer and stillness amid the hustle and bustle of modern life.

During the offertory members of the Helpers' Children's Programme
presented their artwork on the Pastoral Theme for 2011
"With Bernadette, Praying the Our Father".

Fr. Tony Rogers celebrating Mass at the Grotto.

Fr. Tony Lester, O.Carm., among the concelebrants

"The peace of the Lord be with you always."

Carmelite Pilgrimage Director Johan Bergström-Allen sharing the sign of peace.

Carmelite group member Shell Roca signing for the deaf and hard-of-hearing.

Fr. Tony Lester, O.Carm., distributing communion during the Grotto Mass.

Fr. Wilfrid McGreal, O.Carm., processing from the Grotto Mass.

Immediately after the Grotto Mass pilgrims gathered in front of the Rosary Basilica for the Catholic Association group photograph which many like to take home as a souvenir of their week in Lourdes.

Fr. Francis and other Carmelite pilgrims lining up for the pilgrimage photograph.

The pilgrimage photograph captures something of
the scale of the Catholic Association.

The pilgrimage would not be possible without the voluntary services of some 300 helpers, including approximately 100 young people aged 17 to 25.

The Catholic Association's Young Helpers Group.

Among the Young Helpers are two members from the Carmelite group. Karisha George and David Monteith are both students at the University of York where the Carmelite friars have the care of the Catholic Chaplaincy.

(right-left) Karisha and David with their University Chaplain
and fellow Lourdes volunteer Fr. Tony Lester, O.Carm.

Lay Carmelite Angela Bergström-Allen and her son Johan both work
as volunteer helpers during the Catholic Association's week in Lourdes.

On Monday afternoon a Penitential Service was held in the St. Bernadette Church, offering pilgrims the opportunity for individual confession.

This was followed by a Tea Party in the Accueil Notre Dame, organised by the Helpers' Children's Programme.

Carmelite group pilgrims Helen Carroll (seated) and Matthew Betts,
with former Catholic Association Hospitalité President Nell Atkin,
enjoying themselves at the HCP Tea Party.

On Monday evening there was a prayer service for members of the Catholic Association Hospitalité, the organisation that organises helpers on the pilgrimage and offers them spiritual and social support. At the end of the service it was announced that the current Chaplain to the Sick, Fr. Simon Blakesley of East Anglia Diocese, is stepping down, and the role will be taken on by Carmelite friar Fr. Tony Lester. As Chaplain to the Sick Fr. Tony will be responsible for the pastoral care of all Assisted Pilgrims in the Accueil Notre Dame, and their helpers. He will be de facto Chaplain of the Catholic Association Hospitalité.

On Monday evening Fr. Tony was invited to give the blessing at the Glanfield Group's celebration of Night Prayers.

Fr. Tony giving the blessing at Glanfield Night Prayers
(with a little help from group member Errol Bracken!)

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Photographs courtesy of: Johan Bergström-Allen; Photo Lacaze; Photo Viron.