We left Cardiff airport with a full plane heading towards Lourdes for our 2015 pilgrimage on the afternoon of 26th July, arriving in Lourdes early evening ready to eat, rest and prepare ourselves for the week’s itinerary. Our opening Mass was at the Grotto and the Archdiocese of Westminster joined us for the celebration, where Cardinal Nichols celebrated and Archbishop George preached. Following the Mass we had our pilgrimage photograph in front of the Rosary Basilica.
That afternoon, our Deacons led us in a solemn and reflective Penitential Service, during which Priests were available to hear confessions. Later that afternoon we joined in the Blessed Sacrament Procession, which saw pilgrims uniting together from around the globe, to give praise and adoration.
After a relaxing evening with pilgrims free to explore Lourdes, the Domain and the Grotto at night, Tuesday began with a Mass with Anointing in one half of the Bernadette Basilica. Many of our pilgrims took the opportunity to receive this sacrament of anointing, which was a very moving and uplifting occasion. Our afternoon itinerary included a passage through the Grotto, where all members of the Welsh National processed as one united group. From there, our Seminarians led a refreshing and beautiful Water Ceremony which put everybody in the right frame of mind for a free afternoon. In the evening the pilgrimage gathered as one to join in with the Torchlight Procession.
One of our pilgrims remarked that there were “…all these people, from all over the world, all part of the same Faith….all together in one place!”
Wednesday morning is traditionally when the Domain holds an International Mass in the Underground Basilica. It was to this that many of our pilgrims attended and enjoyed. As part of the holiday spirit of the pilgrimage, our Assisted Pilgrims and many others ventured to the Lac de Lourdes for an afternoon out with refreshments and a view of another part of Lourdes.
The following morning pilgrims were invited to take the water of Lourdes or go into the Baths. Many people chose to bathe in the waters of Lourdes before assembling to follow the Stations of the Cross. We were scheduled to follow the High Stations, for those able, as well as the Stations on the Prairie, however due to inclement weather our Seminarians changed the venue and adapted the Way of the Cross to suit Stations inside the St Frai, incorporating members from all areas of the pilgrimage family. Our afternoon Mass was in the Rosary Basilica, an awe inspiring setting, where we were joined by many other pilgrims for our celebration. After Mass pilgrims started preparing to leave Lourdes, with packing, last minute shopping and visits to the Grotto. Then there was the opportunity in the evening, to come together for a social gathering in the Hotel Solitude. The celebration was packed with fun, laughter and song! A lovely way to spend our last night in Lourdes!
On Friday we had our closing Mass in Salle Notre Dame. Archbishop George celebrated and Bishop Tom preached and together they closed our pilgrimage. We lit our pilgrimage candle and processed to the Grotto where we placed it in the stands and Archbishop George gave a final prayer and blessing.
The only thing left for us to do was to return to Cardiff taking the ‘Joy of the Mission’ and the joy of our pilgrimage home with us.
A big thanks to all who joined together to make the pilgrimage so spiritual and successful, thank you to every pilgrim and to every helper for your time and talents!
Our pilgrimage next year will be from Sunday 24th July to Friday 29th July 2016. More information will be distributed shortly – keep an eye out and spread the word. Bookings can be made through Joe Walsh Tours. Anyone seeking further information should email the director on email@example.com.
Advance notice: Welsh National Pilgrimage Afternoon Tea.
Come along to share memories of Lourdes 2015 and enjoy an afternoon of fun on Sunday 20th September in St Mary’s Church Hall Bridgend, CF31 3HS at 2:30pm. Cream Tea is provided but please bring something savory to share.
Would you like…….
To come to Lourdes as a Helper on the Pilgrimage?
To help within the S. Frai in a caring or domestic role?
To come as a Youth Helper?
To come as an Assisted Pilgrim?
Do you know someone who would like to, or needs to, come to Lourdes as an Assisted Pilgrim?
Do you know someone who would like to make a donation towards the costs of the Pilgrimage:-
By sponsoring an Assisted Pilgrim?
` By sponsoring the Youth Helpers?
By making a general donation?
By helping fund raise for the Pilgrimage?
We would like to hear from you. Again, please email the director on firstname.lastname@example.org
Above all …..
Please remember all the Pilgrims and Helpers, and the work of the Welsh National Pilgrimage in your prayers.
We will also take prayers and intentions for you to the Grotto on our next visit.
Our Lady of Lourdes – Pray for us.
Saint Bernadette – Pray for us.