Lourdes Pilgrimage 2012 - Monday 27th August

Monday morning saw the Catholic Association going to the Grotto, the very heart of the Sanctuary in Lourdes. Since the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared there to Saint Bernadette Soubirous in 1858, the Grotto has attracted millions of pilgrims.

The Catholic Association pilgrimage processing to the Grotto.

The Virgin Mary asked St. Bernadette to tell the priests "to come here in procession"; clergy processing to the Grotto for Mass.

Bishop Paul Hendricks of Southwark Archdiocese preaching at the Grotto Mass.

Bishop Paul preached powerfully at the Grotto.

Prayers of intercession offered at the Grotto Mass

Carmelite group member Shell Roca
signing for the deaf and hard-of-hearing at the Grotto Mass

Carmelite group member Sophie Morgan playing music at the Grotto Mass

The Glanfield Children's Group at the Grotto Mass.

At the offertory, children of helpers on the pilgrimage presented a collage 'rosary' made of photos of their faces, and a large rosary they had made from plastic balls.

At the offertory the Glanfield Children's Group and the Helpers' Children's Programme brought to the altar some artwork they had made.

"Through Christ, with Christ, in Christ" ...
Bishop Paul and Deacon Leonard Tatt at the Doxology

Carmelite group member Sr. Maureen McNally, F.C.,
assisting priests at the distribution of Holy Communion during the Grotto Mass

Glanfield Group members with the artwork they had designed.

After Mass it was time to pose for the annual photograph of the whole Catholic Association pilgrimage, and for photos to be taken of some of the groups whose membership is drawn from across the C.A.

The entire group photograph

The Catholic Association Hospitalité (helpers' association)

After the Grotto Mass the whole pilgrimage posed for a photo. The Carmelite group gathered around the Prior Provincial, Fr. Wilfrid, and the British Province banner carried by Jean Saunders.

Steve Drake of the Helpers' Children's Programme modelling the rosary that the children had made to commemorate the pastoral theme in Lourdes this year:
'With Bernadette, praying the rosary".

After the photographs British Lay Carmelite Angela Bergström-Allen (left)
took a small group to visit the monastery of Carmelite nuns in Lourdes.
In the party were Len Tatt (right) a seminarian from Southwark Archdiocese,
and Charlie Thermos (centre), a Lay Carmelite who made the pilgrimage
all the way from Melbourne, Australia.

On Monday afternoon the Catholic Association pilgrimage celebrated a Reconciliation Service in the beautiful surroundings of the Rosary Basilica. The presider was Fr. Wilfrid McGreal, Prior Provincial of the British Province of Carmelites.

Angela Bergström-Allen reading the Scriptures at the Reconciliation Service,
with fellow Carmelite group member Shell Roca (in front) signing for the deaf.

Fr. Wilfrid preaching at the Reconciliation Service.

Fr. Wilfrid spoke of the Sacrament of Reconciliation
as a time of deep encounter with God's love and mercy.

Fr. Wilfrid hearing the confession of a fellow priest.

The Reconciliation Service concluded with a sprinkling of water
as a reminder of our forgiveness in baptism.

Later on Monday afternoon the Stations of the Cross were led by Jesuit priest and Bible scholar Fr. Nicholas King, in the cool of the Prairie meadow opposite the Grotto.

Fr. Nick spoke powerfully to younger and older pilgrims alike.

As well as being a best-selling translator of the New Testament,
Fr. Nick is a helper on the Catholic Association pilgrimage.

The pilgrims traced the Passion of Christ and were invited by Fr. Nick
to look for parallels in the life of St. Bernadette, and in their own lives.

Immediately after the Stations of the Cross, the Assisted Pilgrims were invited back to the Accueil Notre Dame for a special Tea Party organised by the Helpers' Childrens' Programme (HCP).

Tea and games were on offer at the HCP Tea Party.

Enjoying refreshment and one another's company at the HCP Tea Party.

On Monday evening there was a special service held in St. Joseph's Chapel for the members of the Catholic Association Hospitalité, that is, the confraternity which organises the practical care of Assisted Pilgrims, and which gives its members practical and spiritual formation, as well as a network of support and friendship. The new patron of the C.A. Hospitalité, Bishop Peter Doyle of Northampton Diocese, led the service alongside Carmelite friar Fr. Antony Lester, who is Chaplain to the Hospitalité.

Bishop Peter welcoming members of the Hospitalité to the evening service.

The Hospitalité Service in St. Joseph's Chapel.

Fr. Tony proclaimed the Scriptures and spoke about
the way in which the Hospitalité is a family.

Carmelite group member Nimal Hemelge spoke as Hospitalité Secretary for the last time before handing the duty on to another member of the association.

In addition to the helpers who give physical care, the Catholic Association Hospitalité has a number of 'Prayer Members' who support its work by praying for the helpers. Assisted Pilgrims are invited to become Prayer Members after they have been on the Catholic Association pilgrimage for a number of years. On this occasion one new Prayer Member was admitted to the Hospitalité, Carol Wilson. Carol is a member of the Carmelite group within the Catholic Association. She lives in a residential centre run by the Daughters of the Cross, who put her in touch with the Carmelites some years ago.

Bishop Peter blessing the Hospitalité insignia that Carol will now wear
as a Prayer Member of the Hospitalité.

Carol Wilson (seated), surrounded by (left-right): Sr. Maureen McNally, FC (Carmelite group nurse), Nimal Hemelge (Hospitalité Secretary), Bishop Peter Doyle (Hospitalité Patron), Chris Buller (Hospitalité President), Fr. Antony Lester (Hospitalité Chaplain) and Claudette Verster (Carol's carer in Lourdes).

After the Hospitalité Service there was a drinks reception in the Foyer of the Lourdes Hospitalité (HNDL).

C.A. helpers enjoying some social time together.

To read about the previous day please click here.
To read about the following day please click here.

Photography: Johan Bergström-Allen, T.O.C.; Photo Lacaze; Photo Viron