I would highly recommend this pilgrimage and place it as the most rewarding experience
By Ciarán Murray, Rhetoric Loyola
On the 11th of September 2018, a group of twelve sixth year students accompanied by Mr. O’ Sullivan and Mr. Moran travelled with the Meath Diocese to the southwest of France to help assist the sick pilgrims in Lourdes.
There were a combination of young, old and sick pilgrims staying in the hospital for the week. Each day began at 8.00 am. We went to the hospital where we were assigned tasks to carry out with the guests who were staying in the hospital. These tasks included accompanying the guests to mass, assisting them at the baths where they were blessed with holy water, (which is an experience that nobody will ever forget), bringing them to the main town to facilitate their purchase of souvenirs, and most importantly having regular chats and making sure that they were enjoying their Lourdes experience.
Each evening had a different event, for example, The Candlelight Ceremony. This takes place every night in Lourdes. It is a procession where each person carries a candle while singing and praying prayers in various languages. It finishes with a ceremony in front of the main Basilica. Pilgrims find this is a very moving experience. This was my most memorable night as it was rewarding to see all the smiles on the faces of the guests as we wheeled them around in the chariots. Mass took place each afternoon in either the church of Saint Bernadette or the underground church of St Pius X. We had mass at the Grotto on one occasion, which was a special experience. There were two parties organised for the guests which took place in the canteen of the hospital. We had a great time singing, dancing and making sure the pilgrims had the best time in Lourdes
Every night after an eventful day, the Belvedere group gathered in a quiet area to reflect upon the busy but gratifying events that took place throughout the long day. We shared our experiences of the day. We all agreed that we had an unforgettable time in Lourdes and we gained a number of fulfilling life experiences that we will never forget.
Thank you to Mr. O’Sullivan and Mr. Moran and everyone else who was involved in organising the pilgrimage.