HCPT Lourdes Pilgrimage: “You Are Very Special”
Group 149 pilgrimage dates: Monday 2nd to Sunday 8th April 2018
Every day we had some time before dinner for rosary prayer and reflection.
We also took 10 minutes each evening to run through any events from the day and prepare for the next.
Monday 2nd April 2018 (Lourdes weather: good)
We met at St Bart’s church hall at 3:45am and 26 of us departed by coach for Stansted.
We flew out from Stansted by Jet2 charter at 08:00am arrived in Lourdes at 11:00am
It took quite a while to clear a very bureaucratic border control, and the baggage wait seemed interminable too – we wanted to get to Lourdes not hang around the airport!
However we managed to arrive at the Hotel Croix des Bretons for lunch.
After lunch headed to our allocated rooms and chose our beds for some rest until 4.00pm
At 4:15pm we left the hotel for a quick tour of Lourdes to visit the Grotto and we met up again with our St Benedict’s School helpers: Emily, Daniel and Louis. We then had a drink in the Carrefour café and returned to the hotel for our reflection and then dinner and some much needed rest.
Tuesday 3rd April 2018 (weather: good)
Following breakfast we went to the Domain for our group photo wearing our special commemorative Steven McDonald (USCPG – American HCPT) T-shirts and a walk through the Grotto. Then we went to the USCPG Mass celebrated by Aux. Bishop Manuel Cruz from Newark, NJ that we had been specially invited to and then returned to the hotel for lunch.
The Met North West Regional Mass was at 2pm in St Josephs chapel. After mass we will returned to our hotel. In the evening we participated in the Torchlight Procession and even our youngest guest Joe stayed up late for the end of the procession.
Quite a long, busy, intense but enjoyable day!
Wednesday 4th April 2018 (weather: good)
Following breakfast walked to the grotto where we prayed the Stations of the Cross. After refreshments we returned to the hotel to collect a packed lunch and then took a coach for the short trip to spend the afternoon at Hosanna House. There we had an outdoor Mass and then relaxed, handles pets, had our faces painted and did arts and crafts – we returned to the hotel for around 6pm.
Thursday 5th April 2018 (weather: good)
After breakfast we went straight to the Basilica of St Pius X (a huge underground basilica) for the Trust Mass organised this year by the USCPG (American HCPT)
We made our own way back to the hotel with our guests for lunch via a café.
After lunch we had some free time in the afternoon
Helpers and guests had the option to go to the baths at 2pm, or other Lourdes activities until we attended the Blessed Sacrament Procession at 5pm
We did not have dinner in the restaurant tonight as the hotel will provide Pizza and chips for our Fancy Dress Party!
Friday 6th April 2018 (weather: great for the beach!)
After an early breakfast we took a coach for the two-hour journey to the beach at St Jean de Luz! After a short dip… We had lunch in a restaurant in St Jean de Luz, then got in some more beach time before getting some ice cream and doing some shopping before taking the coach home again in time for reflections and dinner. Our younger helpers had the opportunity to visit Lourdes after dark while the older helpers took care of guests.
Saturday 7th April 2018 (weather: wet)
Following breakfast we will walk down to the grotto for our service of Light and Thanksgiving and to remember those who have requested our prayers and our Benefactors who make Lourdes a reality for Group 149
After lunch we had some free time for the baths, confessionals, shopping and perhaps afternoon tea or take Le Petit Train and see the sights of Lourdes and spray them with water pistols!
Before dinner will had a final reflection on our week and chose the winner of the 5 euro or less “tat” competition – Congrats Liz!
After dinner we had time to start to pack and prepare for our departure Sunday afternoon. Our older helpers had the opportunity to visit Lourdes after dark while the younger helpers took care of guests.
Sunday 8th April 2018 (weather: wetter)
Following breakfast, Fr Tim celebrated a Mass in the Hotel chapel at 9.30 and blessed our devotional objects and holy water.
After there was some free time before lunch in hotel.
Then we needed to pack our last things, leave the hotel and catch a coach for the airport around 3pm
We returned to Stansted departing Lourdes at 5.55pm and arrived at Stansted at 7:40pm.
It took a while to get all our baggage together but we got back to St Bart’s about 9.05pm to meet our families!
Thank you to all our benefactors for their support on out pilgrimage!