Regular Across travellers to Lourdes will recognise this motto, representing a unique kind of pilgrimage. Across pilgrimages take place every week of the year from Easter to October and leave from different places in the UK and even from the Channel Islands. Across pilgrimages to Lourdes are available to all, regardless of health or disability difficulties. Each Across group of 24 people has a medical team, chaplain and volunteers who help our VIPs have an amazing pilgrimage. We travel to Lourdes by Jumbulance, a unique specially designed coach ambulance, which provides safe and comfortable transport for travellers with disabilities and illnesses.
Each pilgrimage is different and structured according to the needs and limitations of our pilgrims. However, all our pilgrimages have a number of activities in common. They all include for example: time for prayer at the Grotto, Blessed Sacrament Procession, Torchlight Procession, Stations of the Cross, Praying the Rosary, Anointing of the Sick, Daily Mass, the Baths and more.
In addition to these activities, Across pilgrims have access to a mini-Jumbulance whilst in Lourdes which gives them the opportunity of easily visiting places in and around Lourdes, going shopping and even having day trips to Gavarnie or elsewhere.
In the early hours of Thursday 10th October, Across Group 1930 left Dundee on pilgrimage to Lourdes. It was led by Pauline Veal, parishioner of St Joseph’s, Dundee accompanied by a group of experienced and new helpers and VIPs. The group was privileged to have Bishop Stephen Robson as its chaplain. On the journey, the Jumbulance picked up additional travellers at Bothwell, Lancaster and South Mimms Services and then the group of 24 was complete.
After a long, but enjoyable journey, with time for getting to know one another, sharing meals, watching films and sleeping, we arrived in Lourdes in time for lunch on Friday 11th October. The Hotel Mediterranee had twelve specially adapted rooms that include hospital beds and medical equipment, as well as easily accessible wet rooms. After lunch there was time to settle in before taking part in the weekly programme of events that had been planned.
The weather in Lourdes can be very unpredictable and the group were prepared for all eventualities. They were blessed with very good weather and altered our programme to suit the temperatures. On the Saturday evening, they took part in the Torchlight procession, which was very impressive on a dark autumnal evening, watching the procession of candles winding its way around the domain.
Sunday Mass was held in the chapel of the Bellevue (Polish) Convent. The grounds of the Convent have a beautiful statue of Pope St John Paul II and Stations of the Cross which were re-housed from L’Astazou, the former permanent Across accommodation in Lourdes. In the after-noon a funicular took them to the summit of Pic du Jer. This was a wonderful excursion and some group members even climbed to the summit where there is a cross is illuminated every evening.
Time in Lourdes is of the essence and first time pilgrims were keen to see as much as possible. Our seven days in Lourdes passed very quickly but still allowed us to visit all the important sights connected to St Bernadette – the parish church, Cachot, Boly Mill and town cemetery and other places such as the Ukrainian Church, St Frai Chapel, Le Petit Lourdes and the Maxili-lian Kolbe Exhibition. Outwith Lourdes, we visited St Savin, Gavarnie, Hosanna House and Bartres
For further information about traveling to Lourdes in the future with Across, either as a VIP, helper, chaplain or member of the Medical team, please contact:
Margaret Parke (Local Group Leader) – 01382 667158
Pauline Veal (National Group Leader – 01382 668957